NBA Betting Favorite: Heat -5
Game One in Miami was a very physical and hard-fought game as most expected it to be, but it was the Miami Heat who controlled the game. Paul Pierce was tossed in the fourth quarter, and the Celtics struggled on the offensive end. Dwyane Wade dominated the first half, and he finished with 35 points to the lead the Heat to victory. Boston made a run in the third quarter, but Miami never panicked. Can Boston get back on track in Game Two or will the Celtics go home down two games to zero?
Ray Allen had a terrific first game, but the rest of the Boston offense failed to show up. Allen had 25 points and was five of eight from the three-point line. Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo had just six and eight points respectively. The Celtics were the best field goal percentage offense in the NBA during the regular season, but they weren’t getting high quality looks on Sunday afternoon. Rondo will need to get to the basket more frequently, and they’ll need guys like Garnett or Glen Davis to be a formidable scorer in the paint. Shaquille O’Neal hasn’t played in a long time, but he is listed as questionable for this game. If he could play, it could give the Celtics a boost on the interior.
The Miami Heat were extremely efficient on offense in Game One. The Heat made 26 out of 32 free-throw attempts, and they made 9 out of 19 three-pointers. James Jones was a surprising star for Miami. Jones buried five shots from beyond the arc and cashed in on all ten of his free-throw attempts. While Wade and Jones starred on the offensive end, it really was the Miami defense that propelled the team to victory. Miami contested every Boston shot inside the paint, and the defense on Rondo was tremendous. Chris Bosh had a quiet first game. He will need to step up his production over the next few games as this series moves along. If Miami can keep up the defensive intensity, they will be difficult to beat.
While the total finished at 189 points in Game One, I think the value is on the under in Game Two. There were 50 free throws attempted in Game One. There were an amazing 21 made three-pointers. I expect a grind it out game here.
NBA Free Pick: Celtics/Heat under 182
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