Opening Betting Line : Heat +3 / Celtics -3
Over/Under : 183
Game Time : 8 PM EST Saturday May 7, 2011 on ABC
The Celtics have played in the NBA finals in the past 2 seasons, but they have their backs against the wall down 2-0 in this series. This is not an elimination game, but no team has ever come back from a 0-3 hole to win a playoff series. The Celtics’ key players are nursing some injuries, mainly Rojon Rondo and Paul Pierce, but each will play and they will finally have Shaq off the bench and they need his inside presence in this game.
The Celtics have not been able to stop the new Big 3 of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh, who scored 80 of Miami’s 102 points in Game 2. Boston must play better D in this game, as they allowed the Heat to shoot 45.3% from the floor in Game 2. At least the Celtics are at home in this game where they beat the Heat twice this season.
Miami beat Boston 102-91 in Game 2 and in that game the Heat covered the spread with the total going Over.
This season Miami is 44-44-1 ATS and Boston is 40-46-2 ATS. The Celtics have covered the spread in 5 straight home games facing the Heat.
The Celtics need Paul Pierce to step up in this game after getting ejected in the 4th quarter in Game 1 and injuring his Achilles in Game 2. His offense will be sorely needed in this game. Kevin Garnett is shooting under 38% for the series, Rondo has struggled with his shot, and in Game 2 Ray Allen only had 7 points on 2/7 shooting.
It’s pretty basic for the Celtics, as they must play better on both ends of the court or they will be down 3-0 in this series. In Game 2 the Celtics shot a lower FG%, had fewer rebounds, and more turnovers and that cannot happen in Game 3.
Boston cannot let LeBron and Wade get out on transition for easy hoops and they must make this duo take longer shots and not easy ones in the paint. In an interesting fact James and Wade had 75% of their shots in Game 2 within 15 feet of the basket.
Since Boston got their Big 3 of KG, Allen, and Pierce they have never been down 0-2 in a payoff series and the last time Boston came back from being down 0-2 it was in the 1969 finals facing the Lakers.
In some other betting trends for this Eastern Conference playoff game:
The Heat are a solid 6-1 in their last 7 road games, 3-1-1 in their last 5 road games as an underdog, and they have an Over record of 4-1 in their last 5 games.
The Celtics have not covered the spread in their last 5 games facing teams with a winning record and they have an Under record of 8-2 in their last 10 home games.
Our Selection : The Celtics just look totally outmatched in this series. Boston haven't been able to find an answer for stopping the Heat's big 3, who had 80 of Miami’s 102 points in Game 2. We like Miami to win this game outright. The points are just a bonus. Take the Heat +3 at Bodog.
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