With the Eastern Conference Finals tied, the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat meet in a pivotal Game 5 this Wednesday evening.
The Celtics breezed their way to a 102-82 win that was not as close as the score suggests in Game 4. But can the top-seeded Heat get healthy and back on track at home?
Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat
Wednesday, May 25, 2022 – 08:30 PM EDT at FTX Arena
The Celtics (53-41-3 ATS) are a 1.5-point road favorite over the Heat (55-41-1 ATS) at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks.
Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra is 5-6 SU in playoff games following a 20-point loss.
But we have already seen the Heat bounce back from a 25-point loss in Game 2 of this series. Do they do it again as the underdog?
Game 4 Recap: Celtics 102, Heat 82
Few teams have ever started a playoff game as poorly as the Heat did in Game 4. The Celtics led 18-1 more than eight minutes into the game.
The Heat missed their first 14 shots, and by waiting until the 3:22 mark of the first quarter to sink their first field goal, it was the longest drought without a basket to start any playoff game over the last 25 seasons.
That start doomed the Heat, who shot a season-low 33.3% from the field and got a whopping 18 points combined from their five starters.
That used to be one-half for Jimmy Butler this postseason, but Butler was one of many Miami players on a lengthy injury report.
Butler played through his knee injury after leaving Game 3 at halftime, but he only shot 3-of-14 and scored six points
Celtics vs. Heats: Team's Performance
Tyler Herro did not play at all for Miami, though to be fair, the Celtics were without starting point guard and Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart.
Still, the Heat now has their two worst shooting games of the season come against these Celtics. Miami seemed to let their health problems get the best of them.
One game after a brilliant performance where he scored 31 points on 22 shots, center Bam Adebayo once again played soft and only scored nine points on five shots.
Maybe the weirdest thing about this game is that despite leading by 30 points in the fourth quarter and winning the game by 20, it’s not like the Celtics played that well.
Boston shot 39.7% from the field and was 8-for-34 (23.5%) from three. The Celtics are the only team in the NBA in the last four seasons (regular season or postseason) to win a game by at least 20 points while shooting under 40% from the field.
The difference came at the free-throw line where the Celtics were 32-for-38, and the Heat were 8-for-14.
The 24 fewer free throws were a season-worst differential for Miami, but it was the third time this year the Celtics took at least 16 more free throws than the Heat in a matchup.
So, that problem may not clear up in a home game unless the Heat is more aggressive.
Is Miami Unraveling?
This series has been filled with injuries, and surprise inactive, and a team has led by at least 25 points in each of the last three games.
It will come down to a best-of-three game, but the spread has gone from the Heat opening Game 1 as a 4.5-point home favorite to the Celtics as a 1.5-point road favorite in Game 5.
Boston is 16-7 ATS as a road favorite this season, the third-best record for any team with at least three such games.
But Miami is 4-1 ATS as a home underdog. Still, it does seem like the Celtics have a better roster and fewer health problems.
While Miami shot so poorly in Game 4, it’s not like the Celtics don’t have a big room for improvement too.
Heats Performance in Game 4
In Game 4, the Heat were 4-for-13 (30.8%) on wide-open threes according to NBA.com. But the Celtics were actually worse at 4-for-14 (28.6%).
On open shots where the closest defender is four-to-six feet away, the Celtics are shooting 46.7% in this series compared to 38.9% for Miami.
The Heat is struggling to create offense, and the only reliable playmaker this postseason (Butler) is nursing a nagging injury. It is a bad combo against one of the most balanced teams in the league.
The Celtics cover the spread on the road a league-high 66.0% of the time. After picking the Celtics to make the NBA Finals before these playoffs started, I see no reason to go against them now in what should be a pivotal Game 5 in this 2-2 series.
The Heat is banged up and has relied heavily on Butler while the Celtics have two capable stars in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
Trust the Celtics to come out on top for your NBA picks, and maybe we can get a closer game worth watching this time.
Score Prediction: Celtics 104, Heat 100
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.