NBA

Celtics-Heat Game 3 Betting Odds, Preview, and Predictions | FanDuel Sportsbook

The Boston Celtics are in Miami to take on the Heat in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Boston’s 4th quarter struggles haunted them yet again on Friday, as Miami went on a 34-16 run to come back and win Game 2, advancing to 2-0 in the series. According to FanDuel Sportsbook, the Celtics are 3.5-point favorites

Spread: Boston Celtics -3.5

O/U: 214.5 points

ML: Celtics -162, Heat +136

Injury Reports

There are no new injuries prior to Game 3. Danilo Gallinari (ACL) is out for the Celtics, while Tyler Herro (hand) and Victor Oladipo (knee) are out for the Heat.

Celtics Projected Starters

PG: Marcus Smart

SG: Jaylen Brown

SF: Jayson Tatum

PF: Al Horford

C: Robert Williams III

Heat Projected Starters

PG: Gabe Vincent

SG: Max Strus

SF: Jimmy Butler

PF: Kevin Love

C: Bam Adebayo

Boston Celtics Overview

Just like after Game 1, the story for Boston was how they crumbled late in the 4th. After a Grant Williams dunk with 3:54 remaining, the Celtics were held without a field goal for the rest of the game, and Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined to shoot just 1-8 across the entire frame. In both games, the Celtics in the 4th are now a combined 3-16 from three with 10 turnovers, and neither Tatum nor Brown has eclipsed 6 points. Inexplicably, their offense has completely stalled out while Miami finds a way to drill big shots time and time again. The Heat, as they’ve proven all postseason, are not a team who will just roll over and die if they fall behind early — Boston has to finish the job or else their season is in jeopardy.

They can start to flip the script by knocking down their threes, something they haven’t done yet this series. Game 2 was their worst shooting performance of the Playoffs, hitting just 28.6% from deep. When the Celtics shoot below 40% from three, they’re 29-30 in the regular season and Playoffs. Worse, this postseason, when they shoot below the league average of 37.7% — something they’ve done twice this series — they’re 1-5. Miami’s shooters can get hot in a hurry, but they cooled off last night, like they did for most of the second round. If Boston can hit threes at a rate we’d expect, they can put pressure on the Heat and get themselves back in this series.

Miami Heat Overview

The Heat toughed out a huge victory once again, and this time, they got a big boost from Caleb Martin and Duncan Robinson. Off the bench, they combined for 40 points on 17-25 from the field and hit some big shots in the 4th quarter to cut into the Celtics’ lead. If they’re producing, especially from three, Boston will need to decide between taking away the three and double teaming Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, making it harder and harder for them to get stops. Them outscoring Boston’s bench by 10 may not happen again, but the Heat would love some more reliable offense from them tonight.

Even without Martin, Robinson, and the rest of their undrafted players who have made life hell for the Celtics, the Heat are getting by with incredible efforts from Butler and Adebayo. When they’re on the floor together, Miami is outscoring Boston by 28.6 points per 100 possessions. This is, obviously, thanks to their scoring and strong defense, but also their ability to recognize when to attack and when to defer depending on the defensive looks Boston shows. So far, the Celtics have shown they don’t have an answer for slowing either of them down, and they should continue to roll tonight.

Prediction

The Celtics should bounce back, but they also should’ve bounced back after Game 1. Their inability to finish close games playing clean basketball paired with the Heat’s mental toughness is troubling. When the Heat are getting contributions from everyone, not just Jimmy and Bam, it also becomes much more difficult to get stops they so desperately need. Miami is in the driver’s seat, and if it’s a close game again, I think they take complete control and go up 3-0.

Miami Heat 117, Boston Celtics 112

Henry Bova

Henry is a journalism student at Northeastern University covering the Celtics and Patriots for CLNS.

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