Thanks to sharpshooting heroics from rookie Tyler Herro, the Miami Heat took a 3-1 lead over the Boston Celtics in the 2020 Eastern Conference Finals. The Heat are one victory away from securing a berth in the NBA Finals, while the Boston Celtics face elimination in a do-or-die Game 5.
The Heat improved to 11-2 in the postseason, both straight up and against the spread.
The Celtics now face their second elimination game in the NBA Bubble. Boston defeated the Toronto Raptors in seven games in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
“It’s not over,” said Jaylen Brown. “It can be done. We’ve got a lot of heart in this locker room.”
|#3 Boston Celtics (1-3) vs #5 Miami Heat (3-1)|
- Tip-off: 5:30pm PT
- Point Spread: BOS -3.5
- Total: 213 o/u
- Moneyline: MIA +135 / BOS -160
The Heat are +300 odds to win the NBA championship according to a recent update from the Mirage Sports Book in Las Vegas. The Celtics are +1400 odds to win the championship.
DraftKings updated its “Series Winner” prop bets. The Heat are -560 odds to win the series and advance to the NBA Finals. The Celtics are +400 odds to rally back and win three games in a row.
On the Brink of a Wicked Bustout
In the first three games against the Heat, the Celtics dominated the first halves. They developed double-digit leads in those first three games. In Game 4, Miami went into the locker room with a six-point edge.
The entire team had an off first half. By the time they got on even ground, it was too late.
“We felt our first half just wasn’t as good as it has been,” said Brad Stevens.
Jayson Tatum got off to a hellish start and a cold streak. He didn’t score a point until the third quarter. After he finally found his shot, he scored all 28 of his points in the second half.
“I didn’t score in the first half,” said Tatum. “That’s unacceptable.”
The Heat threw up their 2-3 zone. Again. The Celtics struggled against it. Again.
“I just don’t think we attacked enough,” said Kemba Walker. “Don’t think we were aggressive enough.”
The Celtics failed to bust the zone with their 3-point shooters. The starters struggled from beyond the arc. Marcus Smart shot 1-for-8, Tatum went 4-for-11, and Walker 3-for-8 from downtown.
If the Celtics can’t overcome Erik Spoelstra’s zone in Game 5, an elimination looms in their near future.
Feeding the Hot Hand
Jimmy Butler has a knack for getting his teammates on a heater by simply feeding them the ball. That’s what makes the Heat difficult to defend because you never know which player will be the one who has a huge night.
“It’s never the same guy or same two guys,” said Butler. “We just go with the flow and find the right guy. Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s Goran.”
When Goran Dragic gets hot, he’s the focal point of the offense. Sometimes it’s Jae Crowder’s night and everyone else gets out of the way. When Duncan Robinson heats up from 3-point land, everyone feeds him the rock. The other night in Game 3, it was Bam Adebayo’s turn to shine as the offensive star.
On nights when no one is scoring, Butler takes over. In Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Butler lit up the Milwaukee Bucks for 40 points and dominated the game in the fourth quarter. The Heat upset the Greek Freak in Game 1 to set the tone for the rest of that series.
On Wednesday night, the world belonged to Tyler Herro. Butler and the Heat fed the hottest hand on the team in the second half, and Herro didn’t squander his chance to be the Game 4 hero. By the end of the night, Herro drilled five 3-pointers and finished with a career-high 37 points.
“Nothing Tyler does surprises me,” said Adebayo.
Who’s turn is it to get hot for the Heat in Game 5? Or do the Heat keep feeding the kid from Kentucky?