The Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics duke it out in a pivotal Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals at the TD Garden on Friday night.
The Miami Heat will be brimming with confidence after stunning the Celtics in a 123-116 upset road win in Game 1 on Wednesday. Jimmy Butler led the team with 35 points, five rebounds, seven assists and six steals, Bam Adebayo added 20 points with eight rebounds and five assists while Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, Caleb Martin and Kyle Lowry all scored 15 points apiece. As a team, the Heat shot 54 percent from the field and 16 of 31 from the 3-point line as they got off to a slow start and looked to be in trouble after they allowed 66 points in the first half to fall behind by 13 points, before they exploded for 46 points in the third quarter to flip the game on its head and escape with eh crucial victory.
Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics will be hoping to square up the series after dropping a winnable game in the series opener on Wednesday. Jayson Tatum led the team with 30 points on nine of 17 shooting, Jaylen Brown added 22 points with nine rebounds and five assists while Malcolm Brogdon chipped in with 19 points on seven of 14 shooting off the bench. As a team, the Celtics shot 51 percent from the field and 10 of 29 from the 3-point line as they looked to be in full control in the first half where they built a 13-point lead, only to let all their hard work go to waste in the third quarter where they got outscored by 46-25. It was a balanced scoring effort as they had six players finish in double figures in scoring, but they will be so disappointed with the result given that they won three out of four quarters.
Looking at the betting trends, the Heat are 4-1 ATS in their last five road games, 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games against a team with a winning record and 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games overall. The Celtics are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 home games, 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games against a team with a winning record and 12-5 ATS in their last 17 games overall.
Head to head, the over is 4-0 in the last four meetings in Boston and the Heat are 14-5 ATS in the last 19 meetings in Boston.
The Heat got the job done thanks to a 46-point ambush in the third quarter of Game 1, but the Celtics are surely going to come out swinging after surrendering home-court advantage. The Heat were able to get the win thanks to another monster game from Butler who has been sensational in these playoffs, but I’m expecting a much better effort from the Celtics, especially considering what is at stake here. It’s hard to imagine anything but a bounce-back win from the Celtics at home, but this line just seems a little too hefty for this pesky Heat team.