NBA Pick: Boston Celtics @ Miami Heat Preview
The Celtics just don’t feel like a team that really has a championship in them this year. They looked a lot better in the first NBA game of the season than many thought at the New York Knicks, taking them right down to the wire before losing at Madison Square Garden. But these next two games in two nights against the Heat and New Orleans Hornets on the road are going to prove to be incredibly difficult. Christmas Day was a nice debut for Brandon Bass, who shot 9-of-13 from the floor and scored 20 points to go with his 11 boards. He was clearly the most effective big man that Boston had to offer, and we would be surprised if he wasn’t installed in the starting lineup over either Aleksandar Pavlovic or Jermaine O’Neal, both of which were wildly ineffective against the Knicks in the opener. Rajon Rondo scored 31, Ray Allen had 20, and Kevin Garnett had 15, but without Paul Pierce in the fold, outside shooting was really nowhere to be found. Pierce still has that bone bruise in his heel that could keep him out of the lineup in this one.
The Heat are going to be okay early in the season, but it is clear that Head Coach Erik Spoelstra needs to limit the minutes of his stars. Chris Bosh only played in 24 minutes in the opener against the Dallas Mavericks, a game that was won with ease, while neither LeBron James nor Dwyane Wade really played all that much in the fourth quarter. Perhaps Miami just hopes to run teams off the court every single night, and if that’s the case, there will be little to worry about. There also isn’t all that much to worry about when LeBron goes off for 37 points and D-Wade accounts for 26 as they did in the first game of the season. Bosh had his hands full dealing with Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas, but we would expect him to do a heck of a lot better on Tuesday night with Bass, Pavlovic, or O’Neal on him for the majority of the night.
Boston Celtics @ Miami Heat Trends: The Celtics are just 3-7 ATS in their last 10 road games, though they did start off the year with a cover against the Knicks. Miami is 6-2 ATS in its last eight at home, and the favorite is 18-6 ATS in the last 24 meetings. Miami had troubles early in the year with the C’s last season, but it came on strong when it counted, covering and winning four of the five games when the teams met up in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.