NBA Picks: Celtics at Heat Game 5 Odds and Betting Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 6/4/2012
Well, well, well … after last Wednesday, it was starting to look like the NBA’s conference finals were going to be four-game duds in both the East and West. Now, however, it appears we might get treated to two seven-game classics.
I will admit that I pretty much wrote off the Boston Celtics after their gut-wrenching 115-111 overtime loss to the Heat last Wednesday, which gave Miami a 2-0 series lead. But Boston bounced back with a fairly dominant Game 3 win on Friday and then made the East Finals a best-of-three with a very exciting 93-91 overtime victory on Sunday. Miami had a chance to win at the end of regulation and overtime. LeBron James was triple-teamed at the end of regulation and was forced to make a bad pass to Udonis Haslem, who missed a low percentage jumper. Then Dwyane Wade missed the potential winning three-pointer at the buzzer of overtime. It was Miami’s first-ever overtime playoff loss; the Heat had been 6-0.
The game drew huge action at the books and the highest preliminary television rating for an NBA Playoff game on cable since records started being kept in 2003. This series might be about to get that much more interesting on Tuesday night with the possible return of a certain Heat all-star.
Celtics at Heat Betting Story Lines
The Heat will activate power forward Chris Bosh for Game 5, although it’s still not yet clear if Bosh will play. Of course, he has been sidelined since injuring an abdominal muscle near the end of the first half of Game 1 of the Indiana Pacers series. Over the past three days, Bosh, who is now being called day-to-day, has had increasingly good workouts. It’s probably unlikely that he can play heavy minutes right away, but he can only help against Celtics center Kevin Garnett, who is averaging 20.5 points and 10.8 rebounds in this series. When Garnett is on the floor in this series, Boston is plus-19 in 153 minutes. When Garnett is off the floor, the Heat are plus-25 in 49 minutes.
Plus, Bosh is much more of an offensive threat than Garnett has had to worry about so far, so KG could tire more quickly now. As an ESPN story put it aptly, Garnett has played like a free safety on the court, roaming off his man and blowing up every action toward the rim. He can’t do that with Bosh in the game.
The Celtics definitely seem to have found their rhythm. They took an 18-point lead in the second quarter of Game 4 and scored 61 in Sunday’s first half, which was both a playoff high for them and by an opponent against the Heat. Miami doesn’t have an answer for Rajon Rondo, who had 15 points and 15 assists and scored the final three points for Boston in Game 4. In the six minutes Rondo was off the court, the Celtics shot 2-for-9 from the field and were outscored by six points. In the 47 minutes in which he played, the Celtics shot 43 percent and outscored the Heat by eight.
And Ray Allen seems to have found that fountain of youth. Allen had scored only 33 points in the final five games of the Philadelphia series, shooting 12-of-36 from the field. And he was terrible in Game 1 of this series, going 1-for-7 from the field and 3-for-7 from the line. But since then he is averaging 13.0 points per game, with 16 in Game 4.
Boston’s bench also played well on Sunday. Keyon Dooling had 10 points and Mickael Pietrus played great defense at times on LeBron. Pietrus was the main defender on James on that final possession of regulation, and with 1:51 to play in overtime Pietrus gave up his body to draw a charge and the sixth foul on James. It was only the fourth time LeBron has fouled out in his career and first since April 2008. The Heat trailed 92-91 after James left the game (Boston’s Paul Pierce also fouled out in OT; he has fouled out of three playoff games already).
James scored 29 points, but needed 25 shots, missed 4-of-8 free throws and committed seven turnovers. Wade needed 22 shots to get his 20 points. Boston has been able to gamble and commit two defenders on Wade, in part, because of the absence of Bosh. Wade's shooting percentage has gone down each game of this series. He says his knee isn’t bothering him but Wade is now shooting 30 percent from 15-plus feet in the playoffs and 27 percent in this series.
Celtics at Heat Betting Odds and Key Trends
Miami opened as an eight-point favorite (same as Game 1) with the total at 179.5 (same as Game 4; other three games it was at 178.5). Boston is 4-4 ATS on the road in the playoffs and 3-5 ‘over/under’. Miami is 6-2 ATS at home in postseason and 4-4 O/U.
Boston is 1-5 ATS in its past six games after a win. Miami is 1-6 ATS in its past seven Tuesday games. The over is 5-1 in Boston’s past six games as a road dog of at least five points. The over is 5-1 in Miami’s past six as a favorite. The over is 6-1 in the past seven meetings in Miami. Boston is 7-1 ATS in the past eight meetings.
NBA Picks: Celtics at Heat Betting Predictions
Of course, the Heat are a better team with Bosh on the court, but it could disrupt Miami’s rhythm at first. I do think he plays. If it comes down to a final shot, Boston has a one- or two-point lead and Miami has the ball, you have to like the Celtics’ chances. Why? The Heat are now 0-for-7 in game-tying or go-ahead field-goal attempts in the final 24 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime this postseason. In the past two postseasons in that scenario, Wade and LeBron are a combined 0-for-7. I think Miami wins Game 5, but I’m taking Boston and the points. Also like the over.
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