The Miami Heat have stolen home court advantage courtesy of a come-from-behind 123-116 win in Game 1. It furthered the team’s momentum, but rest assured the Boston Celtics are geared to be more assertive for Game 2.
Catch the game tomorrow at 8:30 AM, Manila time.
HOME: Boston Celtics (0-1)
Projected starting five:
- Derrick White
- Marcus Smart
- Jaylen Brown
- Jayson Tatum
- Al Horford
Another playoff loss at TD Garden. Yikes. Following the defeat, the Celtics have dropped to just 2-4 at home in the 2023 playoffs. What’s worse is they were expected to cruise during all those losses.
On Thursday, Boston led by as much as 13, pounded the paint in the first half, 40-16, and won three quarters. They erased all of that, however, when they ate dust in the third period, 46-25. Also, Jayson Tatum had limited touches in the final frame for some reason, including zero field goal attempts. All of his six points were from the charity stripe. That’s after scoring 24 points through the first three periods. Then again, he was simply sloppy late in the game as he had two travelling calls within 30 seconds. He and his main partner in crime, Jaylen Brown, combined for five turnovers in that quarter.
No Celtic was particularly quiet in the game – Marcus Smart had 13 points and 11 assists, Malcolm Brogdon added 19 off the bench, Robert Williams was a perfect 6-for-6 for 14 points, and Derrick White chipped in 11 points with three threes – which makes the loss a bit more concerning than usual since it makes you wonder what more can they do? Whichever it may be, they’re hoping it’s just one of those days where the opposition surges out of nowhere.
AWAY: Miami Heat (1-0)
Projected starting five:
- Gabe Vincent
- Max Strus
- Jimmy Butler
- Bam Adebayo
- Kevin Love
The Heat suddenly turned on the jets in the second half of Game 2, and from there, it felt like the Celtics were at their mercy. ‘Playoff Jimmy Butler’ was in full swing and it was backed up by an efficient supporting cast across the rotation.
Butler provided damage on both ends, posting a game-high 35 points (20 in the 2nd half) alongside five rebounds, seven assists, and six steals (3 in the 4th quarter). Behind that is Bam Adebayo having a 20/8/5 line, with Kyle Lowry, Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, and Caleb Martin all having 15 points each. Whenever such production happens, you know it’s good basketball that most probably ended in a win.
Still, while it’s great and all, the Heat should hope not to need ‘Playoff Jimmy’ that much every time, or even that many solid contributions. It can only happen so much in one playoff run. They ought to be more active on the down-low too as they can’t give up 40 paint points in on half again.
Handicap: The Celtics (-9) fail to cover the spread.
Over/Under: The total goes under 215.5