The Boston Celtics dropped Game 1 to the Miami Heat in last season’s Eastern Conference finals, and it didn’t deter them from winning the series
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Boston is in the same hole in the rematch and looks to bounce back and even the best-of-seven set when it plays host to the eighth-seeded Heat in Game 2 on Friday night
Despite the 0-1 hole, the Celtics are 8.5-point favorites entering Game 2. However, it’s the Heat who have drawn 69 percent of the spread-line bets and 55 percent of the money at BetMGM
Miami’s +310 moneyline has also been a popular play, drawing 79 and 64 percent of the action, respectively.
NO HEAD-HANGING IN BOSTON
The second-seeded Celtics outplayed Miami in the first half in Game 1, but the Heat seized control with a dominating 46-25 edge in the third quarter en route to posting a 123-116 victory on Wednesday
Boston led by 13 late in the second quarter prior to the epic collapse in which it allowed the Heat to make 17 of 26 shots (65.4 percent) in the third quarter
“We’re too far in to hang our heads. We’re too far in to look back and be like, ‘The series is over,'” Celtics guard Jaylen Brown said. “It’s one game. So we’ve just got to get ready to play the next one
“Got a great opportunity the next game on Friday to come out and play and lift our intensity. I’m looking forward to it.”
Jayson Tatum led Boston with 30 points in Game 1 but he disappeared in the fourth quarter. Tatum didn’t attempt a single field goal in the period while committing three of his four turnovers. Brown had 22 points and nine rebounds on the night.
BUTLER CONTINUIING TO SHINE
The best player on the floor in Game 1 was Miami’s Jimmy Butler, who recorded 35 points, seven assists, six steals and five rebounds.
Butler has five 30-point efforts this postseason and is averaging 31.5 points in 11 games.
“He’s one of the best players in the world for a reason,” Heat guard Kyle Lowry said. “It’s just a joy to watch it. For a guy that wants it so bad and works so hard at his craft, it’s important to enjoy his success. He gives us all the confidence to be successful and be aggressive and be assertive.
The Heat swiped homecourt advantage with the Game 1 win, and multiple players made reference to their teammates having chips on their shoulders
Miami had to go the play-in route to even make the playoffs before stunning the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the opening round and beating the New York Knicks in the conference semifinals.
“I would say that everybody counted us out from the beginning (and that) was kind of what builds that chip,” said Heat center Bam Adebayo, who had 20 points and eight rebounds on Wednesday. “But also the adversity that we’ve been through the whole season, the ups and downs, the games we should have won but didn’t win. Going to the locker room and trying to figure it out, rewrite whatever we did wrong, and going through that put us in this position
“Now I feel like we are one of the best teams in the league, because adversity built this.”
MUST-WIN FOR CELTICS
The Celtics are now the team feeling the pressure as they don’t want to fall behind 0-2 with Games 3 and 4 in Miami
Boston coach Joe Mazzulla bristled multiple times after Game 1 when it was suggested his team wasn’t prepared to play. Mazzulla pointed out the Celtics “won three out of the four quarters.
Of course, they were missing in action in the one that decided the contest.
“We got away from who we are in the third quarter,” Mazzulla said. “Whether it’s home or away, it’s the details, it’s the margins, it’s the little things.”
Meanwhile, the Heat will be hunting for another victory. In last season’s Game 2, Boston pummeled Miami 127-102 to even the series
“At the end of the day we are the 8 seed, so we are on the road,” Lowry said. “We’ve got to go out there and try to win games on the road. We don’t have the advantage of having four games at home.”
The Over/Under opened at 214.5 points at BetMGM but has moved slightly to 215.5 with the Over backed by 81 percent of the bets and 78 percent of the handle.
The most popular player prop at the sportsbook entering Game 2 is an interesting one: Al Horford at +1200 to score the first field goal of the game.
–Field Level Media
Original source here
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