The Boston Celtics travel to the Kaseya Center to do battle with the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday.
The Boston Celtics have been taking their time to get into the series, but they’ve cleaned up their act and are now just one win away from forcing a decider after beating the Heat by 110-97 win on Thursday. Derrick White led the team in scoring with 24 points on eight of 11 shooting, Marcus Smart added 23 points with five steals while Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown added 21 points apiece. As a team, the Celtics shot 50 percent from the field and 16 of 39 from the 3-point line as they set the tone with their defense early and outscored the Heat by 35-20 in the first half and they just kept that double-digit lead right till the end as they had an answer for every shot that the Heat through at them. No bench player scored more than six points, but the Celtics got an excellent game out of White who drained six 3-pointers.
Meanwhile, the Miami Heat might be starting to get worried now that their 3-0 series lead has all but disappeared after a slow start cost them in Game 5. Duncan Robinson led the team with 18 points and nine assists off the bench, Bam Adebayo added 16 points with eight rebounds while Haywood Highsmith chipped in with 15 points on six of nine shooting off the bench. As a team, the Heat shot 51 percent from the field and nine of 23 from the 3-point line as they showed plenty of fight to hang within striking distance for most of the contest, but they always fighting an uphill battle after falling behind by double-digits in the first quarter. Jimmy Butler scored just 14 points and five assists while Kyle Lowry scored just five points, but the biggest problem was the Heat’s lack of defense which led to too many transition baskets for the Celtics.
Looking at the betting trends, the Celtics are 5-2 ATS in their last seven road games and 13-6 ATS in their last 19 games against a team with a winning record. The Heat are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games following a loss of more than 10 points and 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games overall.
Head to head, the under is 5-1 in the last six meetings in Miami, the Celtics are 2-5 ATS in the last seven meetings overall and the Celtics are 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings in Miami.
The Celtics are sweating on the availability of Malcolm Brogdon who is questionable due to a right forearm strain, while the Heat are keeping eyes on Gabe Vincent who is questionable also. The Celtics have managed to claw their way into the series on the back of two solid wins, and it’s not too surprising that they’ve opened up as road favorites in this spot. Be sure to check the lineups before tipoff, but I’m thinking about how uncharacteristically bad the Heat were defensively in Game 5 and I think they’ll made the adjustments in this game. The Celtics have all the momentum at the moment, but I think we’re going to see a much better defensive effort from the Heat in this one. Give me the Heat to finally finish the job behind a big game from Butler.