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Heat, Celtics Set to Ratchet Up the Defense in Game 2

Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum (0) and Kemba Walker, right, defend as Miami Heat's Goran Dragic, center, drives to the basket during an NBA conference final playoff game, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020.

It’s only fitting that a massive Bam Adebayo block ended a sensational Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final between Miami and Boston. With the Heat continuing their incredible playoff run, it will be interesting to see how the favored Celtics respond as the teams tangle Thursday in Game 2. Miami roared back from a double-digit fourth-quarter hole in the first game to win 117-114 in OT.

Miami Heat vs Boston Celtics
  • Date/Time: September 17, 7 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: AdventHealth Arena
  • TV Coverage: ESPN
  • Opening Odds: Celtics -1 | O/U 212 (Line History)
  • Heat vs Celtics Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

Boston kicked things off as a 1-point favorite, but the betting public has pushed the line all the way to -2.5 in most spots. The total has seen big movement as well, from an opening of 212 down to 208.5 (a point lower than Game 1).

Miami News & Notes

The Heat have made things a little more adventurous at times than their fans would like, but you can’t argue with the results. Miami’s stunning comeback improved the club to 9-1 SU and 9-1 ATS in the postseason, after it went a mediocre 36-35-2 ATS during the regular season. The Heat are also a red-hot 7-3 against the spread in their last 10 games against the Celtics.

Here’s the tricky part for Boston moving forward: Jimmy Butler wasn’t the best player on the court for Miami. Point guard Goran Dragic caused all kinds of problems for the Celtics, pouring in 29 points on 11-of-19 shooting; the OVER on his point prop should be a popular option. Jae Crowder added 22 points, but bettors should take the UNDER on his Game 2 point prop.

Boston News & Notes

The Celtics trail in a best-of-seven for the first time in the 2020 NBA playoffs – and they have only themselves to blame, as they blew a 14-point lead en route to their fourth loss in the last six games. Boston had won an incredible 92 consecutive playoff games when leading by 12 or more points entering the fourth quarter, but the Celtics allowed 35 points over the final 12 minutes of regulation.

The focus in Game 2 will be on guard Kemba Walker, who was one of the most disappointing players on either team in Game 1. Making his first playoff run of his career, Walker shot just 6-for-19 from the floor (1-for-9 from three-point range) in the defeat, and might be an intriguing point prop OVER play if you’re expecting him to bounce back Thursday night.

Betting Pick: UNDER 208.5 (-110)

Look for both teams to tighten things up defensively; even with some big quarters in Game 1, these teams barely crossed the Game 1 point threshold before heading to overtime.

Shark Bites
  • Boston is 0-5 ATS in its last 5 games vs Southeast Division opponents.
  • The OVER is 8-4 in Miami’s last 12 games vs Atlantic Division foes.
  • Dragic averaged 21.5 points in two regular-season meetings with Boston.