Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat
The Miami Heat host the Boston Celtics in Game Two of their second round Eastern Conference series. The Heat is 5-point home favorites over the Celtics with an over/under point total set at 182.
The Boston Celtics dug themselves an early hole in game one but despite their sloppy play they still had a chance to comeback at the very end. Paul Pierce let his emotions get the best of him as he ended up getting ejected while Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett were virtual ghosts. Ray Allen was the lone bright spot burying 5-8 from 3 point range in a 25 point effort in the loss. Of particular concern for Boston was a lack of defense thought to be a source of pride for this team. While Ray Allen has never been known for his defensive prowess, the Celtics will need to come up with a gameplan to slow Dwyane Wade if they’re to have any success this time around. Paul Pierce did a decent job on LeBron with mild detriment to his offensive game as a result and Kevin Garnett essentially limited Bosh from the picture. James Jones simply had many too many wide open looks from deep though as he buried 5 of 7 from long range and a lot of it simply had to do with lack of hustle to bypass screens. You can imagine that Doc Rivers tore into his team after the game for that.
The Miami Heat looked like champions on Sunday as they came close to replicating the dominant performance at the close of the season against Boston on their home court. Every bounce seemed to go in their favor as they controlled the pace and tempo from the opening whistle and held the Celtics to a mere 36 points in the first half. Dwyane Wade delivered a scintillating performance as LeBron James quietly scored 22 and Chris Bosh focused on Kevin Garnett and corralled 12 boards. James Jones was the role player of the day as his bench scoring stretched the lead at every crucial juncture when it seemed as though Boston could make a run to revive their chances. Coach Erik Spoelstra will likely look for more of the same in terms of the game plan although I’m sure he can’t be too excited about the lack of defensive pressure once the lead was stretched to a comfortable margin.
I think these teams are a lot more even than they appeared in Game One and although the Heat have dominated the past two meetings in South Beach, it was the Celtics getting the better of the matchup the first three times the teams faced off this year. I think the visitors can summon the courage and desperation to steal one on the road against a team who relies on a small group of players to contribute a ton of individual effort in order to win. Ill bet the Celtics plus the 5-points.
Boston Celtics +5 Miami Heat