The Boston Celtics were missing two starters due to injury/illness in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals at the Miami Heat on Tuesday, but it’s likely that one of the two will be back for Game 2 on Thursday. The Heat are favored on the NBA odds.
How to Bet Celtics at Heat NBA Odds & TV Info
- When: Thursday, 8:30 PM ET
- Where: FTX Arena
- TV: ESPN
- Stream: ESPN app
- Radio: Tunein.com
- NBA Odds: Heat -4 (total 207.5)
Why Bet on Boston?
The Celtics were without starting guard Marcus Smart, the NBA Defensive Player of the Year, and forward Al Horford in Game 1 yet largely dominated the first half of Game 1 in Miami before getting destroyed in the third quarter and losing 118-107.
It was just one dismal third-quarter effort, during which the Celtics were outscored 39-14, that ultimately spelled their doom. After being down eight at halftime, Miami emerged from the break and went on a 22-2 run. The Heat increased their physicality and swallowed up the Celtics on the defensive end, forcing eight turnovers while limiting Boston to just two field-goal makes throughout the entire frame.
“We won three quarters and won the transition battle,” C’s head coach Ime Udoka said after the game. “We won the second-chance points battle, won the points in the paint, and really had one poor quarter that hurt us, and it was strictly from a physicality standpoint. It wasn’t anything different that they did. They just came out and imposed their will.”
Jayson Tatum had 29 points, eight rebounds and six assists but also seven turnovers – including an incredible six in the third quarter alone. Jaylen Brown had 24 points and 10 rebounds and Payton Pritchard 18 points, five rebounds and four assists off the bench. Aaron Nesmith saw 11 minutes and had three big blocks and a steal, but missed all three of his 3-pointers in the loss. Both guys saw extra minutes with Smart sitting out with a foot injury.
Robert Williams returned Tuesday night from a four-game absence to log an outstanding performance. Not only did he score 18 points, but he also grabbed nine boards during his 28-plus minutes of action. Those 18 points from Williams marked his top scoring effort since way back on Dec. 22, when he scored 21 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Williams left Game 1 early with a left leg issue that ended up just being cramps and he’s fine for Thursday.
Udoka is dealing with a non-COVID illness but should be OK to coach on Thursday. Smart (right mid-foot sprain) is expected to return for Game 2. Horford, though, is in COVID protocols and not likely to play.
Why Bet on Miami?
Miami looked a bit rusty in the first two quarters of Game 1 but the Heat outscored Boston 39-14 during the third period thanks to an ugly performance by the C’s at both ends. Boston shot just 2-for-15 from the field during the quarter while committing eight turnovers. Those eight turnovers led to 12 points by Miami.
While Boston struggled offensively, the Heat had no problems racking up points. They shot 11-for-22 from the field and a whopping 14-for-17 from the free-throw line during the quarter. To put that into perspective, Boston made 14 or fewer free throws during three of their previous five entire games.
Jimmy Butler was the best player in Game 1 with a brilliant 41-point, nine-rebound, five-assist, four-steal, three-block masterpiece. It was Butler’s fifth 40-point performance in the playoffs during his three seasons with the Heat — only franchise icon Dwyane Wade (seven) has more.
“If you’re driven by competition, and the stakes get raised, you’re going to raise your level of play,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “This level is high level, this competition, and he senses it, and he knows it. He feels it. And he was able to produce and put us in a position to feel comfortable to be able to win this game.”
Boston guard Jaylen Brown said his club needs to rattle Butler in Game 2.
“He’s comfortable,” Brown said. “He’s very comfortable right now, and we’ve got to do a better job of breaking that rhythm that he’s in. That’s it. We’ve got to take the challenge.”
The Heat were without starting point guard Kyle Lowry in Game 1. Lowry (left hamstring strain) only did some light shooting at practice on Wednesday and will likely be ruled out for Game 2. Gabe Vincent has been starting in his spot and had a career-playoff-high 17 points in Game 1.
The Heat’s defense has held teams to under 40 percent from three-point range, including under 50 percent from the field, in 10 of their 12 playoff games, while also holding teams to under 100 points seven times. Miami has recorded +146 points in their nine playoff victories, averaging a +16. scoring margin in their wins. Miami has won 10 straight home games, including the last three of the regular season and all seven in the postseason.
- Celtics are 7-1-1 ATS in their last 9 games as a road underdog.
- Celtics are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 Thursday games.
- Celtics are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up loss of more than 10 points.
- Heat are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 Conference Finals games.
- Heat are 12-4 ATS in their last 16 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Heat are 14-5 ATS in their last 19 games overall.