Miami Heat vs Boston Celtics Preview
We’ve had a five-day break since the last time these two teams took the court and this is a massive game for the Celtics after they pulled it back to 2-1 in Game 3. Jaylen Brown led Boston in scoring in Game 3 with 26 points and Jayson Tatum wasn’t far behind with 25 points of his own. The stats across the board from the last game suggest that the Celtics should have won by more than 11 points as they shot 10% better from the field and 7% better from 3-point range and outrebounded the Heat by 12. The Celtics led wire to wire in this game and their largest lead of the contest ballooned up to 20 points. Gordon Hayward looked rusty in his first game back with the team, but as time goes on he should be an even bigger force for this team.
For the Heat, they did not get the result they were hoping for in Game 3 but their shooting has regressed in each game since their 44.4% from 3-point range in Game 1. Their 3-point percentage during the regular season was at 37.9%, the second-best clip in the NBA. Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, the team’s two best players, are not snipers by nature, but the Heat have enjoyed great shooting seasons from supporting players, mostly Goran Dragic, Tyler Herro, and Duncan Robinson. How well their ancillary shooters perform will likely continue to determine the Heat’s success game-to-game. The Heat have the opportunity to get to the Finals for the first time since losing LeBron James and the Celtics for the first time since their big-4 days of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, and Ray Allen. This should be another exciting game in this series and a monumental one for the course of the remainder of these two teams’ seasons.
Time: 8:30 PM ET
Arena: AdventHealth Arena, Orlando, FL
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Heat Starting 5
The Heat finished as the #5 seed in the Eastern Conference and went on to sweep the Pacers in the first round and beat the Bucks in five games in the second round. It would be a rarity for a #5 seed to make it to the NBA Finals and the Heat are two games away from making that happen. Goran Dragic has been their leading scorer during the playoffs with 21.7 points per game on 46.3% from the field and 38.3% from the 3-point line. He’s been able to turn back the clock and the 33-year-old veteran point guard has been the difference-maker in making this team a true title contender. Jimmy Butler has been great as well and he seems to always boost his game in the biggest moments. He continues to be underrated around the NBA and is averaging 20.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 2.1 steals per game in the playoffs.
Bam Adebayo has had a monstrous year of improvement and the first-time All-Star has excelled in the playoffs with 17.7 points, 11.4 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game. Adebayo is a force on the glass and a beast on the defensive end of the floor. His high-energy, gritty style of play fits this team’s identity perfectly, and the trio of Dragic, Butler, and Adebayo is arguably the best big three in the NBA right now. Duncan Robinson has kept up his elite shooting from the regular season, hitting 40.9% of his 3-pointers in the playoffs. Jae Crowder, a trade deadline acquisition, has been awesome as well with an efficient 13.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game in the playoffs. Tyler Herro has been the team’s high-octane sixth man and his shooting has made a massive impact as well.
Celtics Starting 5
The Celtics lost Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, and Marcus Morris over the offseason, but this roster is even better. Part of it has been addition by subtraction, as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have been encouraged to take on more responsibility on both ends of the floor. Tatum has been exceptional in the playoffs with 25.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.1 blocks per game. Brown has 21.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. Tatum and Brown are developing quickly and becoming one of the best two-way wing duos in the NBA. Neither player has reached their ceiling yet, and they have the potential to become long-lasting Boston fixtures who make this team a perennial championship threat.
Kemba Walker has also been great as a free agency signing, contributing with 19.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game in the playoffs. His efficiency has faltered a bit – he is hitting just 29.4% of his 3-pointers in the playoffs – and his negative defensive impact has forced him off the court at times. However, Walker’s crunch-time scoring and playmaking are undeniably vital assets to this team. Marcus Smart is the heart and soul of this club and has combined stellar defense with a 35.1% 3-point clip on 6.9 attempts per game. Daniel Theis plays less minutes than any of the other starters, and he’s struggled to contain Bam Adebayo, but his rebounding and rim protection still make him an important asset for the Celtics. Gordon Hayward will be playing off the bench in this game and he’ll look to make more of an impact than he did the last time out.
Clippers vs Mavericks DFS Angle
Heat vs Celtics Betting Odds
Heat Spread: +3.5
Clippers Moneyline: +140
Mavericks Spread: -3.5
Mavericks Moneyline: -165
Over/Under Points Total: 212
The Celtics’ decisive Game 3 victory has bettors leaning towards them to win again, but I would tend to favor the Heat in this game. I don’t expect the Heat to shoot the ball as poorly as they did in Game 3 and their ancillary 3-point shooters should make more of an impact than they did the last time out. The Celtics still have the overall talent to win this game and the series, but Gordon Hayward’s lack of reps with the group over the past month is another major concern. I would bet on the Heat to cover +3.5 in this game and would consider betting on their moneyline as well.
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