The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics meet in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Monday night at TD Garden.
After a 109-103 victory in Game 3, the Heat are now up 2-1 in the series. Bam Adebayo exploded for 31 points after Jimmy Butler left with a knee injury. In their home loss, Jaylen Brown scored 40 points for the Celtics.
With a win in Game 4, Miami will have a chance to establish a stranglehold on the series, while Boston will try to level things up on their own home turf.
Despite losing their last time out at home, Boston is currently the -6.5 point favorite in this one, with the over/under set at 208.
Heat Could be Without Jimmy Butler
After losing Game 2 in a rout and relinquishing control of the home court, Miami came out firing in Game 3, jumping up to a 26-point first-half lead. They overcame the loss of their best player, Jimmy Butler, and battled back on the road in a hostile environment to reclaim control of the series.
The Miami Heat improved their offensive attack after learning from previous mistakes. Bam Adebayo led their attack with 31 points, while Kyle Lowry’s return gave the Heat a new dynamic.
Miami shot just under 47% from the field while outscoring their opponents 48-34 in the paint. The NBA’s greatest three-point shooting squad failed from long range, converting at a 33 percent clip. Miami shoots 47 percent from the field and 38 percent from beyond the arc, averaging 110 points a game (17th).
The Heat’s defense is their strongest suit. The squad ranks fourth in defensive scoring, allowing 105.5 points per game while holding opponents to less than 45 percent shooting from the field and less than 34% from outside the arc.
After suffocating Boston for the majority of Game 3, the Heat surrendered 103 points while shooting 48.5 percent from the field. After being outrebounded 44-34, the Heat will aim to improve their rebounding. They were also outscored 33-9 in turnovers, allowing them to hold off a late Boston rally down the stretch.
Celtics Look to Defend Home Court
The Boston Celtics had all of the momentum heading into Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Finals series against the Miami Heat on Saturday.
They’d just beaten the Heat at home in Game 2 and were on their way back home. Miami, on the other hand, turned the tables and dominated the opening half. The Heat reclaimed home-court advantage with a 109-103 victory.
In Game 3, Boston struggled early on, falling behind 39-18 by the end of the first quarter and chasing the game the rest of the way. Overall, they converted 48.5 percent of their field goals and 37.5 percent of their long-range attempts. Apart from Brown, Al Horford played well, scoring 20 points on 7/14 shooting, but Jayson Tatum struggled hard, scoring only ten points on a dismal 3/14 shooting.
In the NBA, Boston leads the league in scoring defense allowing just 104.5 points per game, shot defense (43.5 percent), and three-point defense (34 percent). They make opposing offenses’ lives harder. Boston should expect a different result in Game 4 if they can control the boards and generate points from turnovers at a comparable rate, as long as they avoid another slow start.
Heat/Celtics Betting Prediction
Expect a big bounce-back effort from Jayson Tatum as the Celtics continue to shoot at a high rate at home. Despite their losing efforts in their first game at home, the Celtics are 4-0 ATS following a loss in the postseason.
With their tenacious top-ranked defense, Boston will open Game 4 considerably better, retaining a lead on the glass and forcing turns. Expect Miami’s outstanding three-point shooting to be limited once more without the services of Jimmy Butler. The Heat will be satisfied with stealing one game in Boston. Back the Celtics in this one.
Betting Pick: Celtics -6.5
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