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Boston Celtics at Miami Heat Game 2 Betting Preview

The Miami Heat are off to a 1-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals thanks to a 118-107 win on Tuesday night. The Boston Celtics were up early but did look a bit emotionally drained in the second half playing on a quick turnaround after their Game 7 win over Milwaukee on Sunday afternoon.

Another reason why the Celtics looked overmatched is because Marcus Smart (foot) and Al Horford (health and safety protocols) were late scratches prior to Game 1. Smart should be back for Thursday night’s tilt, but Horford likely won’t return until the series shifts back to Boston.

Can Celtics Make Adjustments?

The Celtics had to be in somewhat of a haze on Tuesday night, still coming down after eliminating the defending champion Bucks on Sunday and then learning late that they wouldn’t have Smart or Horford. Now, after a day off in South Beach, Boston can kind of recalibrate as they prepare to even things up 1-1.

Getting Defensive Player of the Year Smart back in the lineup will definitely help Boston’s chances with Miami’s back court combo of Tyler Herro, Max Strus, and Gabe Vincent combining for 46 points in the series opener. Smart can also provide some scoring, averaging 14.7 points and 5.7 assists in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

One thing that may have Boston a bit concerned is that they got decent performances from Jayson Tatum (29 points) and Jaylen Brown (24) in Game 1 and still lost by 11 points. Payton Pritchard and Robert Williams III both each added 18 in their respective best games of the playoffs, and it still wasn’t enough.

Too Much Butler

Jimmy Butler continued his assault on the 2022 playoffs going for 41 points in Game 1 against the #1 defense in the NBA. That was the third time Butler went for 40+ this postseason, and has upped his scoring average to 29.8 points to go along with 7.7 rebounds and 5.4 assists. Butler averaged 22 points, 3.5 rebounds, and two assists in two regular-season games vs. the Celtics.

With Tuesday’s win, the Heat are now 7-0 at home these playoffs after going 29-12 at FTX Arena during the regular season. Miami has covered the number in six of those home wins, which gives them some value as -3.5 favorites in Game 2.

Celtics/Heat Betting Prediction

Miami should expect a much better performance from Boston on Thursday night, and the Celtics did a great job of rebounding after each loss vs. the Bucks, bouncing back to win by 23, 8, and 13 points after each defeat. Two of those victories were in Milwaukee as well, so this team has proven they can win on the road.

Things do still go back to Miami being undefeated at home this postseason and Horford still being out, but Boston will get an emotional boost from Smart being back in the lineup. Tatum has the potential to go blow-for-blow with Butler, and Boston should be able to tie this thing up 1-1.

Pick: Boston +3.5

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