Heat at Celtics betting preview: Can Miami score another upset in Game 4?
Here's how we're betting Monday's pivotal Game 4:
It may not have felt like it in the moment, with the Heat taking an early 26-point lead in a wire-to-wire victory, but the Celtics outplayed Miami in nearly every facet of Saturday's loss. Don't believe me? Check the box score.
Boston shot better from the field and from three, got to the line 16 more times, outrebounded the Heat by 10, finished with near-identical marks in assists, and mostly held serve down low and in transition. The key difference? The Cs committed 23 turnovers to Miami's eight, leading to 33 points for the Heat in an eventual six-point win.
Saturday's mark was Boston's worst this postseason and second-worst all year, while its 16 turnovers in Game 1 were its third-most in these playoffs. In Game 2, the Celtics coughed it up just nine times and won convincingly. Clearly that's the litmus test for this series: can this group avoid giving away free possessions to a Miami team that has struggled to generate offense in the half court?
Bam Adebayo (31 points) dominated in Game 3, converting 15 of 22 shots (68.2%) to help the Heat score 48 points in the paint. Can he do that again if Robert Williams (knee) is back on the floor for Game 4? And how much can Miami rely on Jimmy Butler, who left Saturday's win with knee inflammation - the second time it's forced him out of action this postseason?
He's expected to play on Monday, but if he isn't at full strength, it's fair to wonder how the Heat will generate points. That's especially concerning with elite shot-maker Tyler Herro (groin) ruled out for Game 4 and four of Miami's five starters tagged as questionable. Monday's visitors will likely need all the scoring punch they can get if Jayson Tatum (10 points) can solve the defensive riddle that vexed him on Saturday and roar back with an offensive counterpunch, as he has so many times this postseason.
It's worth noting once again, like we did before Game 2, just how prolific the Celtics are in the wake of defeat. Since their rotation came together on Jan. 23, this group is 11-1 straight up / 10-2 against the spread after a loss, including a 4-0 record in these playoffs with all four wins coming by eight or more points. Don't be surprised to see a dominant performance from Boston similar to the one in Game 2.
Pick: Celtics -7
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