Celtics vs. Heat Preview and Pick - ECF Game 6

The Miami Heat lead the Boston Celtics 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals and can potentially close out the series at home on Sunday night.

With their backs against the wall, Boston’s Jayson Tatum poured in 31 points and the Celtics defense clamped down the Heat’s three-point shooting for a 121-108 Game 5 victory.

Do the Celtics have another one in them?


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Celtics Comeback

It appeared early on in Game 5 that Miami was about to put Boston out of its misery. The Heat built a 58-41 halftime lead and were thinking about a few days off prior to an NBA Finals before the Celtics turned it around.

Tatum's 31 points and 10 rebounds along with Jaylen Brown’s 28 points helped Boston come from behind in the second half. The big thing that helped the Celtics was their defense, especially in challenging Miami’s propensity for shooting threes.

Miami shot just 7-of-36 from behind the three-point line for a dreadful 19.4 percent. The Miami Heat are now shooting just 24.8 percent on threes in their last 13 quarters of play. That could be bad news.

Reminiscing

The Boston Celtics are now 2-0 when facing elimination this season. The last time Boston won more than one elimination game in the same season was back in 2008.

Boston won two Game 7’s that year – one in the first round and another in the conference semifinals. The Celtics went on to win the NBA title that season.

Miami Third

The last time the Heat gave up 41 points in a quarter in a postseason game was in the 2014 NBA Finals. Miami was outscored 41-25 – ironically the same tally as Game 5 – by the San Antonio Spurs in the third quarter of Game 3.

The Spurs would go on to win that series and the NBA title, 4-1.


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Miami ATS

The Heat are 11-3 ATS in their last 14 games. If we look a little closer, Miami is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games. All of those games have come against either Boston or Milwaukee.

In each game that Miami covered the point spread, the Heat also won the game straight up. In the three games that Miami didn’t cover, they lost. The last two losses were both by double figures.

Boston Strong

The Celtics will be the road team on Sunday night in the bubble in Orlando. In their last 10 road games, Boston is 9-1 straight up. The Celtics are also 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games against the Heat when playing as the road team.

The thing is though…Boston is just 2-4 ATS in their last six games against Miami.

Celtics vs. Heat Game 6 Predictions

Miami’s Jimmy Butler is vying for his first NBA Finals trip. He is averaging nearly 20 points a game but suffered through a 1-for-5 second half in Game 5. Expect Butler and three-point shooter Duncan Robinson to regroup.

Remember, in the 277 previous times that an NBA team has fallen behind 3-1 in a postseason playoff series, there have been only 13 occasions where a team came back to win. Two of those happened this season when the Denver Nuggets did it.

Expect Boston to battle and, ultimately, keep it close. With Boston favored by 3.5, this is the perfect opportunity to take the home underdog, but take them on the moneyline.

BEST BET: MIAMI +139

About the Author

A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.

His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.

When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.