The Miami Heat are off to a fantastic start in the 2022 Eastern Conference finals versus the Boston Celtics. Will they make it 2-0? Or, will the Celtics tie it all up this coming Friday?
Catch this game live on Friday, May 20, at 8:30 AM, Manila time.
Away: Boston Celtics (0-1/0-1 Away)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Marcus Smart (questionable)
- SG: Jaylen Brown
- SF: Jayson Tatum
- PF: Grant Williams
- C: Robert Williams
Things were looking good for the Celtics in Game 1 even though they were missing Marcus Smart and Al Horford until an atrociously bad third quarter doomed them, resulting in a 118-107 loss.
Boston went 2/15 (13.3 FG%) in the third period of the series opener, which was the franchise’s worst shooting performance in a quarter over the past four seasons. The Celtics can look at it from a glass-half-full perspective: it can’t be that bad again for them. Smart was a true game-time decision for the Celtics in Game 1, which bodes well for his chances to play on Friday.
A Smart return could put a stop to Jimmy Butler eviscerating mismatches against Payton Pritchard, who scored 18 points off the bench but was clearly a defensive liability. Horford (protocol) is out for at least another game, so expect Grant Williams to draw another start. Williams needs to be more productive on offense after scoring just seven points in Game 1.
Home: Miami Heat (1-0/1-0 Home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Gabe Vincent
- SG: Max Strus
- SF: Jimmy Butler
- PF: PJ Tucker
- C: Bam Adebayo
Game 1 was a Jimmy Butler Show special. The two-way forward got virtually everything he wanted in the Heat’s Game 1 victory, scoring a game-high 41 points on 12/19 shooting and 17/18 from the free-throw line. He also had 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, and 3 blocks, while committing just 2 turnovers.
It wasn’t really a surprising performance from Butler, who’s frequently stepped up in big games. Instead, it was the likes of Gabe Vincent and Max Strus, who arguably shocked Boston more. Vincent had 18 points with three 3-pointers and a +23 plus/minus, as a starter in lieu of Kyle Lowry. Strus had 11 points.
The confidence these guys have right now is dangerous for the Celtics, especially since Miami still has Tyler Herro coming off the bench. Vincent’s play and fit alongside Butler, in particular. And with Horford not available on Friday, Bam Adebayo could enjoy more freedom in playing safety. He had 4 blocks to go with 10 points in Game 1.
Spread: The Celtics cover (+3.5).
Over/Under: Taking the Under (205.5).