Miami Heat vs Boston Celtics Preview (12/2/22): Prediction, Starting Lineups, Odds

For the second time in three days, the Boston Celtics will host the Miami Heat in a “heated” rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals. Below, I cover my prediction and picks for the game as well as the projected starting lineups, current injury reports for both teams, and updated odds!

Miami Heat Vs. Boston Celtics Betting Odds

Boston is once again a heavy home favorite against the Miami Heat, this time by 8.5 points. Jimmy Butler remains hopeful of returning for this second matchup with Boston, but Omer Yurtseven and Victor Oladipo will definitely not be in the rotation. Meanwhile, the Celtics won’t have Robert Williams III or Danilo Gallinari once again.

Miami Heat Vs. Boston Celtics Prediction

Boston put on an absolute clinic in the first game against Miami two days ago, scoring 134 points on a team shooting split of 55/49/87. As I said, this was a clinic. The Celtics remain the hottest team in the NBA, having won 14 of their past 15 games after a slow start to the 2022-23 season.

While the Celtics have an offensive rating of 121.5, five points more than the next closest team, and pacing to be one of the best in history, they have looked like a completely different team (for the worse) on the defensive end. Of course, some of this can be attributed to missing their defensive anchor, Robert Williams III, but not all of it. If Boston’s offense ever cools off, it will have to play much better defense. Allowing 121 points to an injury-riddled Heat team might not be a sustainable style of play in the long term.

However, the same could be said about Miami, a team with an elite defense last season but now ranks 12th in defensive rating, 25th in opponent eFG% (effective field goal percentage), and 14th in opponent 3P% (three-point percentage.) The Heat don’t have enough offensive firepower to be a top team in the Eastern Conference without elite defensive play.

All things considered, the Heat showed no ability to stop Jayson Tatum, who posted 49 points on 15-for-25 shooting from the field. Additionally, Jaylen Brown chipped in 26 points, and Brogdon went for 21 points in 26 minutes. I have a hard time believing Miami stays close and shoots as well as it did on Wednesday night. Again, I will ride with Boston against the spread.

Betting Trends

  • Miami is 4-6 ATS on the road in 2022-23
  • Boston is 9-3 ATS at home in 2022-23
  • The combined over record of these two teams is 25-18-1 in 2022-23

Key Matchups

After Wednesday’s offensive clinic, the key matchup should be clear: Jayson Tatum versus Miami’s defense. See below whether I think JT can replicate this type of performance on Friday night or if the Heat will take pride and clamp down!

Jayson Tatum vs. Miami’s Defense

Jayson Tatum has played the Heat twice this season. The most recent matchup has already been discussed, but in their first battle, Tatum posted 29 points, five rebounds, and four assists on 46% shooting. That’s not too shabby of a stat line for the MVP favorite, either.

Miami hasn’t looked like the force it was last season on the defensive end, ranking 25th in opponent eFG%, as opposed to ranking in the top ten in 2021-22. The culture that helped the Heat secure the No. 1 seed last season, despite constant injury troubles in a tough Eastern Conference, has not looked remotely similar. All things considered, I expect at least 30-35 points from Tatum in this one. Advantage: Tatum.

Miami Heat Starting Lineup

PG: Kyle Lowry
SG: Tyler Herro
SF: Jimmy Butler
PF: Caleb Martin
C: Bam Adebayo

Boston Celtics Starting Lineups

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

Key Injuries

Miami Heat Injuries: Omer Yurtseven (Out), Victor Oladipo (Out), Tyler Herro (Q), Nikola Jovic (Q), Dewayne Dedmon (Q)

Boston Celtics Injuries: Robert Williams III (Out), Danilo Gallinari (Out)

Drew is a lead NBA writer at Lineups.com where he has been covering in-season basketball coverage to the NBA Draft. He is a former collegiate player who now spends time diving into NBA prospects and evaluating the analytics of the NBA.

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