NBA Picks: Celtics at Heat Game 2 Odds and Betting Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 5/29/2012
You never want to read too much into one game, but the Boston Celtics sure look like they are toast after losing Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, 93-79, at the Miami Heat. LeBron James and Dwayne were getting dunks and layups all night and the Heat – without their best post player in the injured Chris Bosh – had 42 points in the paint in Game 1. Boston actually might have covered if not getting called for five technical fouls.
Boston Coach Doc Rivers said after the game that LeBron and Wade got to play in “extreme comfort” and that has to change. Rajon Rondo said the Celtics need to get physical: “Nothing dirty, but they have to hit the deck, too.” Frankly, the only way Boston has a chance is if Paul Pierce and Ray Allen can somehow find the fountain of youth down in South Florida.
The Heat also proved that much like college basketball, the NBA regular season really means little. Until Monday’s easy win, the Heat had dropped three of four meetings with Boston this season, going 0-4 ATS in those contests.
Celtics at Heat Betting Story Lines
The Heat’s two position advantages in this series figured to be at point guard and center with Rondo and Kevin Garnett likely able to dominate the Heat’s players at those positions. And Rondo and Garnett both played well in Game 1. KG had 23 points (9-for-16 shooting) and 10 rebounds while Rondo had 16 points, nine rebounds and seven assists (although he did miss like nine layups and didn’t attempt a single free throw). If you don’t doubt that the C’s go as Rondo goes, consider: In Boston's 35-point second-quarter, Rondo shot 4-of-7 for eight points with three assists and zero turnovers. In the other three low-scoring quarters, Rondo was 4-of-13 for eight points with four assists and four turnovers.
It’s pretty clear that both Pierce and Allen are nowhere near 100 percent healthy. Pierce had just 12 points on 5-for-18 shooting in 40 minutes and he was totally gassed trying to chance around LeBron – Boston was outscored 47-33 in the second half. Allen is a shell of his former Hall of Fame self. He was 1-for-7 from the field and Allen, one of the NBA’s best all-time free throw shooters, even missed four of seven free throws. Allen is the all-time three-point shooter in league history but hitting just 27 percent beyond the arc in these playoffs.
The C’s really miss Avery Bradley as he could be the one guarding Wade instead of Allen. Plus, that Boston bench is that much weaker with Allen now in the starting lineup. All told, Boston’s reserves had 14 points. As a team, the Celtics shot just 39.5 percent from the field.
As noted, LeBron and Wade pretty much did what they wanted, totaling 54 points on excellent 21-for-35 shooting. Since the Heat were down 2-1 in the series vs. Indiana, the dynamic duo has shot 59 percent from the floor and is averaging 63 points in this four-game winning streak. When the two were on the floor together in Game 1 against the Celtics, the Heat outscored Boston by 17 points. When either player was off the court, Miami was outscored by three.
And the lousy Miami bench actually outscored Boston’s by two points. The Heat also outrebounded the Celtics, 48-35, led by LeBron’s 13, and had 11 blocks to Boston’s one. Miami’s Shane Battier had his best game of these playoffs with 10 points and 10 rebounds to go along with two assists, two blocks and a steal. He played power forward most of the night against Brandon Bass, who was limited to eight points and two rebounds.
Celtics at Heat Betting Odds and Key Trends
The Heat opened as 7.5-point favorites with the total at 177 – it was 8 and 178.5 in the series opener, according to NBA odds. Miami is 6-1 ATS at home this season and 3-4 on the ‘over/under’. The Celtics are 3-4 ATS on road in postseason and 2-5 on over/under.
Boston is 5-1 in its past six games after a loss. The Celtics are 1-6 ATS in their past seven games playing on one day of rest. The Heat are 4-1 ATS in their past five games after a win as well as in their past five games after a win of at least 10 points. The under is 10-3-1 in Boston’s past 14 games after a loss by at least 10 points. The under is 10-2 in Miami’s past 12 as a favorite of 5-10.5 points. The home team has covered 12 of the past 16 meetings.
NBA Picks: Celtics at Heat Betting Predictions
You could pretty much predict that Game 1 result as the Celtic were exhausted following their Game 7 win over Philadelphia 48 hours earlier, while Miami was home resting. With the win, the Heat improved to 6-0 in playoff-series opening games at home under Erik Spoelstra.
On the positive side for the Celtics, Boston did slow Miami's devastating transition game, committing just eight turnovers and allowing 10 fast-break points. Boston also didn't allow the Heat to beat them from downtown. The Heat shot 20 percent on three-pointers, missing 20 of them in total. On shots within the arc, the Heat made 31-of-47— a 65.9 percent clip. Thus, look for Rivers to play more zone in Game 2 to clog up the lane and try to make LeBron and Wade jump shooters.
The C’s are a proud group, and I expect a big-time effort on Wednesday night. They probably won’t win, but they will cover. Also take the under.
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