The Boston Celtics stole a win in South Beach with a big Game 2 win to tie this series up. How will the Miami Heat respond to that setback, as the series shifts to Boston for the first time?
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Away: Miami Heat (1-1/0-0 Away)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Kyle Lowry (questionable)
- SG: Max Strus
- SF: Jimmy Butler
- PF: PJ Tucker (questionable)
- C: Bam Adebayo
The Hear are licking their wounds sustained from a 127-102 home loss in Game 2, but they got to love the effort Jimmy Butler is making. Butler scored 29 points in that game, and is now shooting 62.2 FG% so far in the series. He went 11/18 in the last game despite the returns of Boston defensive stalwarts, Marcus Smart and Al Horford. Just like the Celtics, Miami is too good of a team to be as bad in a contest following a devastating beatdown.
It’s worth noting as well that Miami has covered the spread in six of their last seven games after a contest in which it lost by at least 10 points at home. Meanwhile, the Heat might have to play Game 3 without versatile forward PJ Tucker who suffered a knee contusion in Game 2. Kyle Lowry is listed as questionable once again. Still, the fact that both Tucker and Lowry traveled with the team to Beantown is a positive sign with regard to their availability. Miami goes to Game 3 along with a 4-1 ATS record following a defeat.
Home: Boston Celtics (1-1/0-0 Home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Marcus Smart
- SG: Jaylen Brown
- SF: Jayson Tatum
- PF: Grant Williams
- C: Robert Williams
With Smart and Horford back in Game 2, the Celtics took on a different form compared to the one they showed up with back in the series opener. Smart scored 24 points and dished out 12 assists while being a pest on the defensive end in Game 2. Horford, on the other hand, scored chipped in 10 points and provided excellent isolation and pick-and-roll defense to help keep Miami’s offense in check.
Boston missed the services of Derrick White in Game 2 for personal reasons but he’ll be back for sure in Game 3, giving the Celtics a full stack of key and rotational pieces for this contest at home. The Celtics are 2-1 against the spread in their last three games. Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard have also seemingly gotten comfortable with their expanded roles. They combined for 29 points in Game 2 and were +37 and +39, respectively, showing that Boston can hide those two (especially Pritchard) if Smart and Horford are available. The Celtics are 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 games.
Spread: The Celtics cover (-6.5).
Over/Under: Taking the Under (207.0).