For the third-straight Game 1 of the 2023 NBA Playoffs, the Miami Heat have gotten the job done on the road. The Heat improved to 3-0 in series openers this postseason after a 123-116 win over the favored Boston Celtics to take a 1-0 lead and home-court advantage in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Miami set a franchise playoff record for points in a quarter with 46 in the third on Tuesday night. Boston tried to rally in the fourth quarter but was unable to. Now, the pressure is on the Celtics to avoid an 0-2 hole before heading to Miami for the next two games. The Heat are undefeated on their home court in the actual playoffs this year (they did lose to Atlanta in the Play-in Series). We have a look at the Heat vs. Celtics odds and a preview of how things might play out in Game 2.
Round: Eastern Conference Finals
Date: Friday, May 18, 2023
Time: 8:30 p.m. on TNT
Location: TD Garden (Boston, Massachussetts)
Heat vs. Celtics Game 2 Best Odds
Miami Heat (44-38)
“Playoff Jimmy” keeps coming through for the Heat. After scoring 15 in the first half but down by nine points, the alter ego of Jimmy Butler came out after halftime, pouring in 20 points and helping the team to a 46-25 advantage in the third quarter to turn the tide of Game 1.
Butler says the confidence his teammates have in him is fueling this run. Additionally, teammates Bam Adebayo and Gabe Vincent say the confidence Butler is playing with is elevating their games. Kyle Lowry and Kevin Love are providing veteran depth. Plus, the Heat hold the experience edge at the head coaching position with Eric Spoelstra trying to reach his sixth NBA Finals and win a third title.
Boston continues to be flummoxed by poor stretches that are costing them games–especially at home. After the Game 1 loss, the Celtics are just 4-4 at TD Garden in these playoffs. With a nine-point lead at the break, Jaylen Brown said there was some complacency coming out of the locker room. It can almost be expected to have a let down in intensity following the do-or-die scenarios Boston found themselves in the last two games against the 76ers.
Boston, however, did rebound by winning Game 2 over Philadelphia. Miami is also 0-2 so far in Game 2s after winning the first game of their series against both Milwaukee and New York. In the first half, the Celtics dominated in the paint, distributed the ball better, and protected the ball (five turnovers vs. 10 in the second half). After holding Philly to 86 and 88 points in the last two games of the previous series–along with keeping Miami to 57 in Wednesday’s first half–Boston’s defense broke down in the third quarter as well.
The thinking behind that number is that Miami has not responded well after their Game 1 wins this postseason. In both Game 2 losses, they allowed the most points to both the Bucks and Knicks throughout the whole series. Boston has shown the ability to bounce back. This is especially true when Jayson Tatum puts the team on his back. Aside from the wild third quarter, Boston also won the other three quarters in Game 1. We this series going back to Miami at 1-1 and likely on its way to going the full seven games.