We have a 1-1 series as things shift to Boston in the Eastern Conference Finals. Boston took control early in Game 2 and never let Miami into the game. It was impressive.
Lead guard Marcus Smart returned to the lineup in Game 2, and his presence was definitely felt all over the floor — he nearly posted a triple-double. The Heat have to be concerned with how their backcourt responds on the road.
Miami guards Max Strus and Gabe Vincent were questionable for Game 2. They played but did not give the team much in the loss. (That was going around.) Veteran PG Kyle Lowry is listed as questionable too, and they could really use a lift from the veteran — his absence has been felt. PJ Tucker is also questionable for Game 3, and they really need his defense.
The line for this one is a major reversal. The Heat were favored by 2.5 and 3.5 points at home, and they are close to double that on the road. That might indicate the injuries are more serious than originally thought.
Miami Heat (1-1) vs. Boston Celtics (1-1)
Saturday, May 21, 2022
TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
8:30 p.m. ET
Spread: Heat +6.5 (-110), Celtics -6.5 (-110)
Total: 207.5 (-110)
Moneyline: Heat +210, Celtics -255
During the regular season, these are two teams that were very committed to defense (1st and 4th). However, in this series, we have begun with back-to-back overs. That is a trend I expect to continue in Game 3 even though we are getting the highest total yet of the series.
In Game 2, we saw the trio of Smart, Jayson Tatum and Jaylon Brown all score at least 24 points. That was on the road, so coming back to Boston I am confident they can keep up their scoring, especially Tatum who has yet to have a big game in this series. He definitely feels due (especially if Tucker is out).
Boston held Miami to just 102 points in the last game, and with the total still a relatively low 207.5 for this contest, one of those teams could have a strong defensive game. This one could still go over even though that total is the highest of the series.
Boston was absolutely scorching in the Game 2 win, making 20 three-pointers and shooting them at a rate of 50%. That is very tough to keep up for sure, but at the same time, with the series moving back home it is more reasonable to expect only a dip instead of a major drop-off.
I am also liking the fact that in the last series against Philadelphia, Jimmy Butler’s best games were actually on the road. Maybe some of that was being jacked up against a former team, but at the very least he is not wilting on the road. As long as he is having a good game, the Heat should be able to get to at least 100 points, and then from there the Celtics just have to be around their season average of 110 points per game at home this season.
In all home games, the average final total has been around 113 points per contest, so there is definitely some room to work with here. If the Heat have the injuries we think they do, that is going to put more less than respectable defenders on the floor.