Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat Matchup Preview (5/25/22)
The Boston Celtics (2-2) take on the Miami Heat (2-2) in Game 5 on Wednesday night. Boston tied the series after routing Miami 102-82. They had a terrible shooting split of 39/23/84, but their vicious defense stifled the Heat. In addition to that, Boston was 32/38 from the free throw line compared to 8/14 for Miami. Jayson Tatum bounced back with 31 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists on a 50 FG% and 14.2 3PT%. Jaylen Brown had a quiet night because of lackluster shooting; he finished with 12 points on 5/20 from the field. Derrick White played well as a substitute for the injured Marcus Smart. White had an all-around game of 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. Off the bench, Payton Pritchard scored 14 points and hit 3 threes. The Celtics have to play on the road now, but they have the momentum. Marcus Smart and Robert Williams are listed as questionable, but they are both ready to play in Game 5. With their starting lineup intact, the Celtics should feel optimistic about their chances.
It was an uninspiring effort for the Heat because there was no fight in them after a horrible 18-1 deficit to start the game. The starters combined for 18 points on horrible 7/36 (19.4%) shooting. All-Star Jimmy Butler had 6 points, 7 rebounds, and 1 assist on a 21.4 FG%. Bam Adebayo added 9 points and 6 rebounds, while Lowry scored 3 points. Victor Oladipo was fantastic off the bench for Miami and gave Boston problems. He ended with 23 points, 4 rebounds, and 6 assists on 4/7 three-point shooting. Duncan Robinson drained 4 threes on 8 attempts on the way towards 14 points. If Miami repeats their first half performance of 33 points, their prospects look grim. They will have to play without Tyler Herro, as he is battling a serious groin injury. Duncan Robinson should see some minutes off the bench to replace Herro’s production.
Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat Betting Odds
The spread for Game 5 is +3.5 Heat, and I am all over the Celtics covering here. I believe Boston is going to win by 10-15 points through their switchable defense and shooting. Boston is dominating Miami at every position, and their perimeter shooting has been far more reliable than Miami’s. The Heat are lacking a second offensive star, while the Celtics have Jaylen Brown, who is leading the series in PPG. Herro’s injury removes a key scorer, which is devastating for the Heat. Every sign points towards the Celtics easily taking this. They were able to blow out the Heat in Game 4 despite shooting a 39 FG% because they can adjust their offense. Miami, meanwhile, lives or dies by the three too often.
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Time: 8:30 PM ET
Arena: FTX Arena – Miami, FL
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Boston Celtics Starting Lineup
Boston Celtics Analysis
Robert Williams has been the X factor for the Celtics this series. His incredible 9.7 Block% has the Heat worried about driving. He is allowing a fantastic 42 FG% in the paint and restricted area, which has shut Miami’s interior game down. The Heat’s poor outside shooting and inability to draw free throws means their offense is inconsistent and inefficient with Williams on the court. In the one game he missed, Bam Adebayo had 31 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists. In the three games Williams played, Bam is averaging 8 PPG, 6 RPG, and 1 APG. And while his defense has been incredible, Williams’ offense has been crucial for Boston. His status as a lob threat means Bam has to constantly stick with him. This means Bam cannot use his help defense to stop Brown’s drives or Tatum’s midrange. Overall, Miami’s defense is stretched thin when Williams threatens a dunk. His impact has been tremendous, which is why he owns a 160 Offensive Rating and 105 Defensive Rating this series.
Payton Pritchard is an unsung hero who has led the bench unit for Boston. Pritchard is averaging 11.3 PPG and 3.3 APG on a fantastic 48/41/75 shooting split. For catch and shoot attempts, he is shooting 50% on 3.5 3PA. His ability to torch the Heat from three has pulled defenders towards the three-point line and away from the paint. This sense of gravity has allowed his teammates an easier time inside because there is one less defender. His defense has held up as well, so Pritchard is not a liability on that end.
Miami Heat Starting Lineup
Miami Heat Analysis
The problem for Miami is that they only have two great shot creators off the dribble, and one of them is injured (Herro). Butler is an efficient isolation scorer, but he doesn’t operate starting at the three-point line. With Robert Williams patrolling Butler’s comfort zone, he doesn’t have much space to create a quality shot. It also doesn’t help that Boston is often doubling him in the post. He makes the right pass, but teammates are quickly covered by Boston or missing their threes. Because of this, Miami is relying on players like Max Strus to shake their defender and sink a contested shot. It’s not a recipe for success, as it forces them to not play to their strengths.
Kyle Lowry is past his prime, and Bam Adebayo has been neutralized by Robert Williams. The best help Butler can get is 6MOY Tyler Herro, but he is doubtful. Even when he was playing, the Celtics defense was getting to him. He is 1/14 from three in this series, and owns a 89 Offensive Rating. This Boston defense is so versatile that Miami has to have multiple players who can penetrate off the dribble. Because they lack this, I don’t think their offense will impress in the slightest.