It looks like a changing of the guard is definitely happening right before our eyes in the NBA. Of course, the aging Los Angeles Lakers, who were the two-time reigning champions and had reached the NBA Finals three seasons in a row, were unceremoniously swept by the Dallas Mavericks in the west semis. Now it appears the Boston Celtics, who have won one title and reached two Finals overall in the past three seasons, are going to fare only slightly better in their East semi against Miami as they must go back to South Florida down 3-1 in the series with Miami for Wednesday’s game.
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Celtics at Heat Betting Story Lines
Frankly, the Celtics could have easily won Game 4 on Monday night – and maybe should have, although the Heat deserve credit for taking it. Paul Pierce, who had 27 points but was otherwise outplayed by LeBron James, had a chance to win it in regulation but didn’t get off a very good shot.
As soon as the game went into overtime, you could sense the younger, more athletic Heat were going to take over and they did. The Celtics scored just four points in overtime of Game 4, shooting 1-for-6 and committing four of their 18 turnovers. Miami would win, 98-90, behind a combined 83 points from LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Those three had 35 of Miami’s 45 total rebounds – the Heat outrebounded Boston by 17 – and all 29 of Miami’s fourth quarter and overtime points. Together, they combined to take the final 20 field goal attempts for the team.
Boston’s Big 3 of Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen had just 51 points on 16-for-42 shooting – KG was the big culprit in going 1-for-10 for just seven points. Plus, he turned the ball over on Boston’s first possession of OT and the Heat never really looked back. Rajon Rondo gamely played 38 minutes and had 10 points and five assists, but if you watched the game he is clearly afraid of getting that dislocated elbow hit and avoids all contact on rebounds on the like. That probably played a role in him missing a key layup that would have given Boston a two-point lead with just over a minute left in regulation. He was on the bench for overtime with Delonte West – also battling an injury – on the court. And coming into the series you could say point guard was the one spot where Boston had a clear advantaged. For example, Miami’s combo of Mike Bibby and Mario Chalmers had just seven points on 3-of-8 shooting in Game 4.
And Boston is getting crushed on the boards because Shaq is clearly not able to play – he went all of four minutes in Game 4 – and Glen Davis appears to be in Doc Rivers’ doghouse after playing just 17 ineffective minutes. It could only get worse if Heat power forward Udonis Haslem plays more than the three minutes he did in Game 4 in his first action in 77 games. The Heat started center Joel Anthony ahead of Zydrunas Ilgauskas and expect that to continue – Anthony played 31 minutes and Big Z just four.
Celtics at Heat Betting Odds and Key Trends
Miami has opened as a 7.5-point favorite, according to NBA odds, with the total at 181. The Heat covered both earlier games in South Florida as five-point favorites.
Boston is 1-6 ATS in its past seven vs. a team with a winning record.
The Heat are 7-3 ATS in their past 10 following a win.
The ‘over’ is 4-0 in Boston’s past four as a dog.
The ‘over’ is 4-0 in Miami’s past four as a favorite.
The favorite has covered the past five in this series.
NBA Picks: Celtics at Heat Predictions
Only eight teams have rallied from 3-1 to win a series in NBA playoff history and Boston has done it twice (both against the Sixers). It won’t be three times. Like the Lakers, this team just looks old and fatigued. When Miami’s Big 3 has combined for at least 80 points this year the Heat are pretty much unbeatable, going 14-1. I do believe that Boston will show some heart, unlike the Lakers in their first elimination game. So while Miami wins, take Boston and the points and the ‘over’.
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