The Boston Celtics meet the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals with a trip to the NBA Finals at stake.
Stars like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown paved the way for the Celtics to playoff success. Against the 76ers, Tatum had an NBA-record 51 points in Game 7, and Brown averaged 24.6 points per game.
[RELATED: White-hot Heat thrash Celtics in Game 3]
Boston meets an unlikely opponent in Miami.
The Heat came through the postseason with flying colors, beating the Milwaukee Bucks in five games and the New York Knicks in six. Miami — led by Jimmy “Buckets” Butler — could do all that damage in the NBA East as the eighth seed.
Will Miami continue the hot phase? Or will the Celtics Butler & Co. cool down?
Here’s a look at the series from a betting perspective, with odds of FOX bet:
Celts at heat8:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, TNT (Heat leads series 3-0)
Distribution of points: Heat -1.5 (Heat wins by more than 1.5 points, otherwise the Celtics cover)
money line: Heat -133 favorites to win (Bet $10 to win $17.52 total); Celtics – 105 underdogs to win (Bet $10 to win $19.52 total)
Total score over/under: Both teams scored 215 points together
Jimmy Butler or Jayson Tatum: who do you trust more?
Emmanuel Acho, Joy Taylor, Ric Bucher and Cuttino Mobley discuss who they trust more: Jimmy Butler or Jayson Tatum.
Series schedule and results (all times 8:30 p.m. ET, TV TNT):
Game 1: Heat 123, Celtics 116
Game 2: Heat 111, Celtics 105
Game 3: Heat 128, Celtics 102
Game 4: Celtics at Heat, Tuesday
Game 5: Heat at the Celtics, Thursday *
Game 6: Celtics at Heat, Saturday *
Game 7: Heat at Celtics, May 29*
* = possibly
Jimmy Butler and Heat come to the ECF with the smallest piece of the NBA title cake
Nick Wright, Chris Broussard and Kevin Wildes unveil the latest installment of Nick’s NBA title pie.
Selection via FOX Sports Betting Analyst Jason McIntyre:
We’re getting another bubble rematch! This is the third time the two have met in the playoffs in the past four years. Miami is significantly outnumbered here as Tyler Herro is unlikely to star in the series. Yes, Miami averaged six players in double figures against the Knicks, but it’s one thing to match New York’s modest offense. Boston, on the other hand, is an offensive juggernaut. Yes, the Celtics were pushed to seven games by Philadelphia, but two of those games were lucky last-minute wins for the 76ers. This series should never have been seven.
I can imagine a scenario in which Boston smashes Miami in five games, and a win isn’t out of the question either. The problem, of course, is that Jimmy Butler is the best player on the pitch – apologies to my favorite Celtics player of all time, Jayson Tatum. I hate betting against him.
But can anyone but Butler play for Miami? Is Duncan Robinson playable? What can you expect from 36-year-old Kyle Lowry? Heat culture is a wonderful thing, but Caleb Martin, Max Strus and Gabe Vincent won’t get the candid looks they got against the Knicks because Boston doesn’t have to double anyone. Marcus Smart is a capable defender against Butler. The combination of Al Horford and Robert Williams that Joel Embiid has knocked out in the last two games will be impressive against Kevin Love and Bam Adebayo.
Miami had a great run, defeating Giannis Antetokounmpo and then Jalen Brunson, but Boston will be the most complete team the Heat have ever faced. Miami has a big coaching advantage in Erik Spoelstra, but he doesn’t have the wing defenders to match Jaylen Brown.
Butler had 41 points and 47 points in two of his three wins last year in the playoffs against Boston. It’s a heavy burden for him again, especially given the ankle injury against New York.
I’m going with the Celtics to win that streak in five games.
SELECTION: Celtics win series 4-1 (+210 on FOX Bet, wager $10 to win $31 in total) LOSS
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