After one of the most surprising results of the 2023 NBA Playoffs, the Boston Celtics are back on the road again to take on the Miami Heat on Tuesday night where they will potentially face elimination.
In a shocking turn of events, the Heat won close games in Boston and then absolutely blew the doors off the Celtics in game three when they came to their home court.
This wasn’t a situation where Jimmy Butler was the focal point and taking on the Celtics by himself like he did against Milwaukee. Every player on Miami was able to contribute in a huge way and their presence was felt from start to finish.
Where Boston goes from here is going to be the biggest question facing this game. If they can show up and win one of these, maybe they have a chance to make it interesting.
This is the first game of the postseason where the Celtics are opening as underdogs, and the Miami Heat are favored at -1.5.
A lost defensive identity
Looking at the box scores of the first two games, the Celtics actually had fairly even numbers across the board and the games really could have gone either way.
Game three was a different story, as the Heat shot over 60% from the floor for much of the game and continually drove and dished from the paint without fail.
For a Celtics team that made the NBA Finals a year ago based on their defense, they have absolutely missed the mark in this postseason and find ways to give up a bunch of open shots each game.
If they want any sort of chance to make it interesting, the defense is going to have to improve and they are going to need their role players to step up and match the intensity of the Heat.
Continuing their no-longer Cinderella run
For most of the postseason, the Miami Heat have been underdogs at every turn, but now they are favored to close out the Eastern Conference Finals on their home floor.
No longer are they the Cinderella darlings who beat the Bucks in the first round, they now have a chance to make history.
They very well could be the second-ever eighth-seeded team to make the NBA Finals and that would be a big deal for the legacy of Jimmy Butler and the Heat franchise.
Tuesday night will be their chance to get there.
Celtics @ Heat Betting Preview
For the sake of the Boston faithful, you would like to believe that the Celtics would be able to get one of these games against the Heat to avoid the sweep.
This will be their last chance to do so and they will need a big game from players who have not really shown up three games in a row.
Finally the Celtics are underdogs, and that is good value to grab in this game. Take Boston at +1.5 over the Heat to hold off the sweep for at least one game.
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