Miami Heat vs Boston Celtics 5/27/22: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds, Live Stream

Miami Heat Vs. Boston Celtics Matchup Preview (5/27/22)

After a championship Game 5 performance, wherein the Boston Celtics went on the road and punched back after a tough first half, these Celtics are one win away from the NBA Finals.

The Celtics were the 11th seed in the east after January. The Celtics were an unimpressive mess, with a poor offense backed up by a moderate defense and young role players.

But Ime Udoka figured out his roster right as Jaylen Brown famously proclaimed the greatest energy shift in recent NBA history.

Boston is 37-9 since that tweet, by the way.

Meanwhile, Miami must feel embarrassed after that Game 5 performance at home. The defense was adequate, but the Heat shot 7-for-45 from 3. Kyle Lowry went 0-6 (0-5) in an infamous zero-point performance.

Now, Miami is in a do-or-die situation. Beat Boston in Boston and then win a Game 7. That’s a tough ask.

The odds have shifted dramatically over the course of this series. But where does the value lie in this particular game?

Miami Heat Vs. Boston Celtics Betting Odds

The Celtics opened as whopping 8.5-point favorites in this one. The Celtics are playing at the Garden, but that’s embarrassing for the Heat “Culture”.

You have to think the value lies with Miami in this spot. But every single game in this series has been a blowout. So, if you think Boston is going to win — which seems likely — the only choice here may be laying the points.

The total has come all the way down to 201. In today’s NBA, it’s impossible to think two teams should expect to score less than 200 points. But, as we’ve been told many times, these are the best two defensive teams in the NBA from an efficiency standpoint.

This could be an overreaction line, as the over is 3-2 so far in this Eastern Conference Final.

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TV Schedule

Date: 5/27/22
Time: 8:30 PM ET
Arena: TD Garden – Boston, MA
Channel: ESPN

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Boston Celtics Starting Lineup

PG: Marcus Smart
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Al Horford
C: Robert Williams III

Boston Celtics Analysis

I don’t think we can overstate just how important Robert Williams is to this team. “Time Lord”, as he’s affectionately called by fans, is a defensive dream. He’s an elite rim protector yet can hold his own in the pick-and-roll, staying with either the big man rolling or effectively guarding guards and wings off the bounce.

And the way Williams has shut down Bam Adebayo is remarkable. With Williams on the bench, Bam dropped a 30-piece. Once Williams is locking down the paint, Adebayo is immediately put in jail, and he doesn’t have the offensive bag to get out of it.

But Williams has been doing that all season. The Celtics DRtg is a full four points better with Williams on the floor than when he is off (105.5 when on, 109.2 when off).

The Jays have been largely inconsistent.

Jayson Tatum scored just 10 points in a six-point home loss in Game 3, and that was a huge reason why the Celts lost that game. But he bounced back strong with a 31-point effort in Game 4.

Tatum also plays great defense and has made huge strides as a facilitator. He’s dished at least five dimes in every game this series and his assist rate has stayed above the 90th percentile in almost every game this playoff run. He can impact the game in every which way.

Also, congrats to Tatum on being named First-Team All-NBA in 2022, the first of his career.

For Jaylen Brown, it’s all about efficient ball-handling. His handle has been a big issue in the past, and that has reared its ugly head again in this Eastern Conference Final. He had seven turnovers in Game 3 and added another four in Game 5.

But his scoring ability is too big to ignore. He dropped 40 in the tough Game 3 loss and then 19 in just the second half of Game 5. When his 3s start to fall, everything opens up, including the mid-range, tough layups, and skull-smashing dunks.

For the Celtics, everything centers around turnovers. If you don’t turn the ball over, you win the game. In their two losses, the Celtics turned the ball over a combined 39 times (19.5 per game). The only way Miami has been able to create offense is in transition, off of turnovers, and that’s the only reason they’ve stolen a couple of games.

If the Celts take care of the ball and rebound, they have a date with Golden State (likely) in The Finals.

Miami Heat Starting Lineup

PG: Kyle Lowry
SG: Max Strus
SF: Jimmy Butler
PF: P.J. Tucker
C: Bam Adebayo

Miami Heat Analysis

Whenever Miami gets into the half-court, the Heat are just stuck. The shooting has been lackluster, Adebayo has been ineffective against Williams and Al Horford, and Jimmy Butler hasn’t carried his team enough.

In Miami’s three losses this series, they scored 105.1 points/100 possesions (27th percentile), 75 points/100 possesions (1st percentile), and 85.4 points/100 possesions (4th percentile). The Heat haven’t struggled with turnovers, but have been getting inefficient shots and haven’t cracked a 15% free-throw rate since Game 1.

After dropping a combined 70 points in Games 1 and 2, Butler has scored a combined 27 in the three games since. That includes a pathetic Game 4 performance. where he shot 3-for-14 from the field, didn’t get to the line once, and finished with just six points in 27 minutes of action.

The Heat need Butler to create more offense, especially with Tyler Herro out. But Boston has too many bodies to throw at him, and Eric Spoelstra hasn’t found an effective adjustment yet.

However, the injury is definitely worth mentioning. He missed the second half of Game 3 due to a knee injury and hasn’t been the same since. If his knees are hurting him, his jump shooting and explosiveness would suffer.

 

Herro being out is tough. He’s the second-best shot creator on the team, but his spot-up shooting is huge for this team. Since he went down, the Heat have struggled with their catch-and-shoot 3s. Miami finished ninth this season in catch-and-shoot 3 efficiency, per ShotQuality, so this regression hurts the team more than most.

Lowry could be hurt, too. He missed the first four games of this series due to injury, and when the Heat needed a veteran to step up for backcourt production, Lowry responded with a combined 14 points on 5-for-23 (3-for-15) shooting and one free throw. His six assists in Game 3 helped the Heat to a six-point win, but his offensive play has been lackluster.

I don’t know where the Heat go from here. The stars are hurt and the team is just out-matched from a personnel standpoint.

Miami Heat Vs. Boston Celtics Prediction and Pick

My pick: Over 200.5 (-108 at WynnBet Sportsbook)

I do think the Celtics win this game. I don’t see any other results.

But with the line sneaking up to 9 at some books (FanDuel), that’s just too many points for a playoff game. Especially after back-to-back blowouts, there should be some regression coming. I’m going to stay away from that number.

There’s simply no way the Heat miss 38 3-pointers again. The Celtics shot poor in Game 5, too, finishing just 10-for-33 from 3 while Marcus Smart and the Jays combined to shoot just 18-for-44 (40.9%) from the field.

There’s some positive shooting regression coming, and I think the 4.5-point drop in the total from Game 4 (205.5 to 201.5) is an overreaction.

It sure is tough to bet an over when the Celtics are starting Smart, Horford, Williams, and two lengthy plus-defenders at the wings. But we shouldn’t expect any NBA playoff game to stay under 200 points.

Plus, there’s a small correlation between big spreads and overs.

Bet it to 202 (-110).

Tanner joined Lineups to cover everything, but he has vast experience in, and unlimited passion for, Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball. He’s a McGill University grad and former (Canadian) Division-I alpine ski racer who now spends his time drinking beer and betting home underdogs. Patrick Mahomes is a poor man’s Tom Brady.

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