All three games of the Eastern Conference Finals have been relatively close to the final whistle. Boston has taken big leads throughout the contests, only for the Heat to come back and take them away. As they meet for a critical Game 4 in Orlando, there is plenty on the line for both teams.
Tip-off for Game 4 is scheduled for 8:30 PM Eastern. The spread favors Boston by three points, while the over/under is set at 210.5.
Miami should not be fretting much, as they nearly had a historic comeback in Game 3. The Heat didn’t give up at any time, no matter how hot their opponents got. Miami has such a talented bunch where everybody knows their roles, and it’s a beautiful thing to watch them play.
Boston, on the other hand, should be feeling a lot of pressure tonight. Even after a win, the Celtics are down 2-1 in the series. Another loss would mean a Nuggets-esque comeback was needed for them to reach the NBA Finals.
Celtics In Search of Critical Win
In Boston’s last 12 games, the “road” team has been victorious every time. The sounds of the stadium are the only thing to change, but for some unknown reason, the “home” team continues to struggle.
Gordon Hayward gave the Celtics a significant lift on the defensive side in Game 3, grabbing five rebounds, three steals, and a block. The news that he will remain in the bubble is a potential series-changer for Boston. If he can continue to be effective, his play gives them the additional depth they did not previously have.
Jayson Tatum nearly had a triple-double in Game 3. His 25-point, 14-rebound, eight-assist effort helped swing momentum back towards Boston. Tatum was also +23 for the game, leading all players (Jaylen Brown had the second-best plus/minus at +15).
Heat Going for 3-1
As soon as the Heat beat the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round, we knew how legitimate a contender they had become. Few predicted reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo losing in Round 2.
The Heat fell a little short in Game 3, but this team is as resilient as they come. Miami bounces back, as they did after only their only other loss this postseason.
Miami works their tails off, and it’s all led by Jimmy Butler. They are a textbook definition of playing “for the culture,” knowing how to follow health guidelines and intense workout plans while playing unselfish, team-first basketball. The Heat are the fifth-oldest team in the league by average age, but they are well-conditioned, contributing to their late-game heroics.
Watch for Butler to be more aggressive tonight, and for Boston to struggle in slowing him down.
Goran Dragic will need to have a better performance than in Game 3. Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson should continue to shoot the ball well. The biggest thing for Miami will be taking the lead early and not being forced to play from behind. We’ll see which Miami Heat team comes to play this evening for a vital game 4.
Boston Evens the Series Up
As well as the Heat have been playing, this Boston team has the experience and talent to overcome Miami again. It’ll be another close one, but the Celtics will get it done again.
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