In NBA playoffs history, 150 teams went down 0-3 in a series before the Boston Celtics became the 151st team in the Eastern Conference Final. The Celtics, though, became just the fourth team to force a Game 7 after being down 0-3, but they can become the first to complete the comeback.
Oddsmakers think it will happen; the Celtics are 7.5-point favorites over the Heat as of this writing.
Jayson Tatum has led the way with 30 points in two of the past three games. Tatum has developed a penchant for showing up in elimination games, and that may be the case on Monday night (8:30 p.m. ET, TNT), as well. However, Boston would not be playing tonight without the efforts of Derrick White.
The Celtics guard had the game-winning putback as time expired in Game 6 to give the Celtics a 104-103 victory. He finished with 11 points, and the other nine points came on 3s. White has been one of the most consistent shooters for the Celtics in this series, and they will need his marksmanship once again on Monday.
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Jayson Tatum Over 31.5 Points (-102)
|Time | TV||8:30 p.m. ET | TNT|
With the exception of a certain team from the Bay Area, eliminating the Boston Celtics is proving to be a difficult task. Boston has faced elimination in four different series over the last two postseasons, and it is 8-1 in those games. Jayson Tatum has averaged 29.4 points per game in those matchups. He has topped 30 points in four of those games, including 46 in Game 6 against Milwaukee last season and 51 in Game 7 against Philadelphia this year.
In this series, Tatum has averaged 27.2 points per game, but he has scored 30 points in four of the first six games. If you want to go safer, you can take him for 30 at -155. However, he has hit this line in three of six games in this series. He was also hooked on 31 in Game 6. I am not worried about the hook tonight for a few reasons.
In Game 6, Tatum was well on pace to go over this line with 25 points at the half. However, he scored just six in the second half and ended with 31 points. Tatum is also 1-for-14 from 3 over the past two games. If he made a three in the second half of Game 6, he would have hit this line and a few likely give him 40 points.
Regardless of whether or not he is more efficient from behind the arc, the volume will be there. He is averaging 19.2 field goal attempts per game in this series and shooting 47.2% from the field. He has taken 22 shots in two of the last three games. He is also averaging 40.5 minutes per game in this series and he has played 40 or more in 11 of his past 12 games. With the stakes of this game, Tatum will likely reach 32 points if he plays 40 minutes.
Derrick White Over 2.5 3-Pointers (-115)
Derrick White has cleared this line in every game in this series, including knocking down six 3s on Thursday night. Dating back to the last round, White has hit this line in seven of the past eight games. In the one game that he went under, he played just 12 minutes.
White’s points line is 14.5, which is doable for him, but he has hit this line in just two of the six games in this series. I prefer the 3s because that is where most of his field-goal attempts come from.
In this series, White is attempting 8.7 field goal attempts per game, and 6.3 of them are from beyond the arc. White is shooting 55.3% from beyond the arc and averaging 3.5 threes per game in this series. Many of them have been wide open because of the attention paid to Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
If you played White’s threes in Game 6, you might have been sweating a bit. However, White knocked down two 3s in the second half. In this game, minutes should not be an issue barring foul trouble. White’s minutes have increased in every game in this series, and he played 42 on Saturday night. He has been picked up the slack for Malcolm Brogdon, who missed Game 6 and played 14.3 minutes per game over his last three games. Brogdon is listed as questionable for Monday night.
Whether or not Brogdon is available, Boston needs White on the floor for his defense, playmaking, and to space the floor. That should give him more opportunities to clear this line for the seventh consecutive game.