It was a tale of two halves for the Celtics in Game 1. In the first half, they shot well, defended the ball, and stayed competitive, which allowed them to have a nine-point lead going into the halftime.
Then the third quarter happened.
(Odds courtesy of FanDuel)
Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat (-2) O/U 207.5
(Tip-Off 8:30 p.m. ET)
It almost felt like the bodies of the Celtics were on the floor, but their minds stayed in the locker room. Miami had a 22-2 run to start the quarter. The Celtics started 0-for-7 from the floor and didn’t make a shot until there was 4:53 left in the quarter. They went on a brief 9-0 run after that but then were outscored 17-3 in the final 4:03. The Celtics had eight turnovers in that quarter, including six by Jason Tatum. Miami ended up outscoring Boston 39-14 in the quarter and went into the fourth with a 15-point lead.
The Miami defense hit a switch in the quarter that Boston could not turn off. Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler were sticking to the Celtics like glue as they wouldn’t allow Jaylen Brown or Jason Tatum to drive with a good angle to the basket, which caused bad shots, strips, and intercepted passes.
Miami must feel confident going into this game, knowing they completely shut down the team that bounced the defending champions.
The great thing about these series is the quick turnaround, and 48 hours later, Boston can put this game in the rearview.
They should have the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Marcus Smart, back in the lineup along with Al Horford. Payton Pritchard, who started in place of Smart, played over 30 minutes for just the eighth time in 155 career games. You can tell he was not ready for the extra minutes because he looked gassed by the fourth quarter and was getting targeted on ball screens that he couldn’t overcome.
The Celtics had a double-digit loss in Game 1 against the Bucks, where they had 18 turnovers and turned it around the next game. With Smart back in the lineup, it will upgrade its lineup on both ends of the floor.
This season, the Celtics are 25-15 against the spread when coming off an ATS loss and are 6-3 as underdogs. They should play much better and cover the spread in Game 2.
Leg 1: Celtics +2
Game Total O/U 207.5
In three of the last four games, the total had gone under when a Celtics matchup went over in the previous one. For that Heat, the total has gone under in all four games during the playoffs following an over total, including three straight under 207. These are still two of the top three defenses in the league, and they’ll play like it in Game 2.
Leg 2: Under 207.5
Jimmy Butler Total Points O/U 26.5
Butler was incredibly aggressive in Game 1 and continually attacked the basket. He even admitted after the game that he likes the physicality and banging into people and will keep playing that way. Butler went 12-for-17 inside the arc and got to the line 18 times, making 17 of them. He’ll keep playing that style and forcing the fouls. He will smash the over.
Leg 3: Over 26.5 points
Total parlay odds on FanDuel: +921
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