Celtics vs Heat Preview
The Celtics are 48 minutes away from history, and they have every opportunity to make it happen on Monday. Boston has all the momentum in the series, following three straight wins, two of which coming on the road. After Game 6, Jayson Tatum said, “I’ve never been so excited to go back to Boston in my life.” This is definitely the feeling amongst the entire roster as there is a ton of excitement in the City of Champions. Boston is no stranger to 3-0 comebacks…just look at the 2004 Boston Red Sox. There are rumors going around that the team has been watching the “Four Days in October” 30 for 30 for extra motivation so they can get the job done.
It’s important to remember, Boston should’ve never been in this position. They’re clearly the better team, and have been outplayed by a roster of undrafted players. The Celtics had a ten point lead with four minutes left in Game 6, and blew it, but still got lucky. However, if the Heat would have made a couple more shots in crunch time, they likely are representing the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals.
The key for both teams will be the stars’ ability to score the basketball. Jimmy Butler was 5 of 21 in Game 6, while Tatum struggled to score in the fourth quarter. He had a dominant first half, but went extremely quiet down the stretch. Players like Marcus Smart have been massive for Boston, but these efforts will only go so far. If Tatum plays like he is capable, Boston will win and likely cover in Game 7. However, this is a big IF based on what we’ve seen from Tatum in crunch time.
Boston Celtics Preview
The Celtics need to learn how to put teams away. Boston has been in multiple spots to win games in the Eastern Conference Final, and they’ve handed wins to Miami. In Game 1, the Celtics had a 93% chance to win the matchup, but blew a double-digit lead in the second half and lost. The same thing occurred in Game 2, as Boston shot under 30% from the three point line and lost by a narrow margin. They were only blown out once in Game 3.
Jaylen Brown’s production has been skyrocketing over the past couple of games, which has relieved Tatum. Tatum has been good in this series, but greatness has been hard to find. Even though Brown has been playing like a secondary star, the Celtics will live and die with Tatum in Game 7. It took the whole team to come back in three games, but it takes a star to finish the job. Tatum was amazing in Game 7 against the 76ers last round, so expect another strong outing from the forward.
Miami Heat Preview
Butler took responsibility for Miami’s loss in Game 6. He could barely get the ball in the hoop and the same goes for Bam Adebayo. Neither star came to play until the final minutes, but it wasn’t enough to win. Butler is a player who doesn’t typically have consecutive bad nights. Although, Boston’s defense has been relentless and they’re playing a more physical brand of basketball. The Heat have also seen their bench overperform.
Every chance Miami has taken has been due to the Celtics not playing great basketball. When the Heat had the chance to finish in Game 6, they couldn’t and it will be a moment they look back on after falling in Game 7. Over 80% of the bets are on Miami at +7.5, but sharp money is on the side of the Celtics.
Celtics vs Heat Pick
The Boston Celtics are better than the Miami Heat. It has taken Boston a long time to prove this in the series. However, Game 7 is an opportunity for the Celtics to advance to the Finals and become the first team to overcome a 3-0 deficit. We should see a great battle between Tatum and Butler, but the Celtics will find a way in Game 7. With sharp money being on Boston, it’s best to lay the points with the Celtics.
PICK: Celtics -7.5