Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics will open the NBA Eastern Conference Finals action on Tuesday evening. The home side has the advantage of kicking off the series in front of its fans, and they seek a successful start. The visitors are full of confidence after eliminating the defending champions, and they want to pick up where they left off.
Miami goes to this one after eliminating the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday evening and finishing the series in six games. The hosts still haven’t lost on their court in the playoffs, and they hope to continue that streak. On the other hand, Boston needed to go through seven games to book a place in the conference finals. Another tough challenge is ahead of them, but the away side wants to secure a positive result.
Miami Heat – Can they remain unbeatable at home?
The Heat had more time to recover for the start of the Eastern Conference finals after beating the 76ers 99-90 on the road. Thanks to that road victory, they managed to secure their ticket for this round. Miami made the key difference in the third quarter of that match when they held Philadelphia to only 15 points in that period. Despite hitting only 25% of the shots from the three-pointer area, the Heat had a solid 48.3 field goal percentage. They also dominated the paint with 14 rebounds more than their rivals but also had three turnovers more.
Jimmy Butler has been the top scorer for Miami in the playoffs with 28.7 points, followed by 7.6 rebounds and a team-high 5.4 assists. He also tops the steals charts with 2.1 per match. Bam Adebayo produces 14.6 pts and controls the paint with 7.7 rebs, while Tyler Herro scores 13.8 points per game. Max Strus and Victor Oladipo have also averaged the double-digit number of points for the Heat in the post-season. On the other hand, Miali will have several selection worries. Kyle Lowry will be unavailable, while Max Strus, P.J. Tucker, Gabe Vincent, and Caleb Martin are listed as questionable.
Expected Line-Up: Victor Oladipo, Tyler Herro, Jimmy Butler, Duncan Robinson, Bam Adebayo
with best odds
Boston Celtics – Will they surprise their rival?
The Celtics went through the seven-game rally to book a place in the Eastern Conference finals. After many turnarounds in that series, they celebrated the fourth win on Sunday afternoon. They were better than the Milwaukee Bucks in a 109-81 victory on the home court. Despite having a slow start, Boston controlled the game after the first period. They were five points up at halftime and just increased their advantage by the end of the game. The Celtics had a 42.0 field goal percentage while hitting 40% of their three-pointer attempts. On the other hand, their opponents scored only 12.1% of their shots from the three-pointer area.
Jayson Tatum leads the Celtics’ offense in the playoffs with 28.3 points, 6.1 assists, 5.6 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and one block per contest. Jaylen Brown scores 22.2 pts in the post-season, followed by 6.5 rebs, 3.8 assists, and a team-high 1.5 steals. Marcus Smart averages 15 points and tops the assists charts with 6.2 per match, while Al Horford contributes to Boston’s offense with 13 pts and 9.4 rebounds. Sam Hauser is still out of the selection for the visitors, while Marcus Smart is doubtful.
Expected Line-Up: Derrick White, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, Robert Williams III
Expert Pick #1 – Under 204 @-110
Although the margin in the totals market is pretty low, it’s not strange since this is the clash of the two defensively solid teams. The Under cashed nine times in Miami’s last 11 games, as well as in five of Boston’s previous seven. Therefore, I’ll go with the under as my first pick.
Expert Pick #2 – Miami Heat -1.5 @-110
It’s challenging to anticipate how these teams will look like in the series opener, but Miami had a couple of days more to recover and prepare. They haven’t lost at home yet in the playoffs, and I think they can extend that streak and cover the number. That’s why I’m going to take the hosts as my second bet.
Expert Pick #3 – Boston Celtics Under 101.5 @-115
The Heat managed to hold their rivals under a 101.5 margin in their previous two head-to-head clashes, and I think that trend will continue. Although the odds are a bit lower than in the first two picks, I’ll take this one as the second alternative for this matchup.