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2020 NBA Playoffs: Heat vs. Celtics Game 2 odds, picks & predictions

Profile Picture: Dan Halverson

September 17th, 2020

Despite the lack of a top seed in the Eastern Conference Finals, it’s hard to deny that the two teams playing the best basketball right now are the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat. In Game 1 of the series, the Celtics led for most of the game including a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter, but ultimately succumbed to late-game heroics by Heat stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.

The game ended up going to overtime where the Heat won 117-114 as 2-point underdogs. In Game 2, the Celtics are currently listed as 2.5 point favorites. Join us now as we examine the latest betting odds and predict who will come out on top.

Thu, September 17 2020, 11:12 PM

Boston Celtics

Spread

-2.5

Moneyline

-145

Total

O 209.5

Miami Heat

Spread

+2.5

Moneyline

+120

Total

U 209.5

Butler and Adebayo came up big in Game 1

Game 1 had multiple star performances, as Jimmy Butler completed a heroic and improbable three-point play to take the lead, contorting in midair to score over Celtics star Jayson Tatum. That lead was then protected with 3.7 seconds left as Adebayo executed one of the greatest blocks you’ll ever see, blocking Tatum at the rim on a play that looked concluded a split-second before it happened.

Miami will look to target Walker and Wanamaker

The leading scorer for the Heat, however, was Goran Dragic, who put up 29 points and led all players with a +13 scoring differential while on the court, while Jae Crowder added 22 on 5-9 three-point shooting. This diverse and evenly-distributed scoring stat line bodes well for the Heat, as it proves their ability to capitalize on weaker Celtics defenders, namely Kemba Walker and Brad Wanamaker.

Walker and Wanamaker surrendered 18 of the 40 made baskets by the Heat, and moving forward Celtics coach Brad Stevens must find a way to avoid Walker being continually targeted. Look for nuanced double-teams, aggressive fighting through screens, and other defensive tactics by the cerebral coach to address this in Game 2.

Expect a big performance from Tatum

For the Celtics, Jayson Tatum contributed his now customary amazing stat line and game tape, despite the forgettable final 13 seconds for the young All-Star. Tatum has already bloomed into a phenomenal player in this league and consistently one of the very best players on the court. His 30-14-5 stat line came on just 10-24 shooting, and I fully expect him to bounce back in Game 2 with a more efficient performance.

The weakness for the Celtics came from the same player that was targeted on defense, as Walker was just 6-19 shooting, including 1-9 from three-point range. Walker and the whole world know he’s been a weak-point, but the Celtics have still been able to manufacture good looks throughout the playoffs and may simply need to make one extra pass moving forward to more evenly distribute shot attempts until Walker breaks out of his slump.

Celtics will come storming back

While the Heat are 9-1 straight up and 9-1 ATS in these playoffs thus far, the Celtics really had a great opportunity to win Game 1 and just let it slip through their fingers. It was obviously a close game as it went to overtime, but in true NBA fashion I expect the difference in Game 2’s matchup to be the Celtics’ need to even the series to exceed the Heat’s need to make it 2-0.

In Game 1 the Heat shot slightly better, especially in the fourth, but nothing says the Celtics can’t reverse that in Game 2. Expect another close game and an even series by Friday.

NBA pick: Celtics -2.5

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