Miami (3-3) at Boston (3-3)
When: Monday, May 29th 2023
Where: TD Garden,
Time: 8:30 ET | TV: TNT
Opening Odds: Boston -8.5/205
The Denver Nuggets have been at home resting, while the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics have been battling it out in the Eastern Conference finals. The Celtics are in position to do what no other team has ever been able to do in the NBA Playoffs. Three teams that were down 3-0 have come back to force a Game 7 and all three lost on the road.
The Heat had a great opportunity to close out the series at home in Game 6 but Derrick White’s tip-in just before time expired gave the Celtics an improbable 104-103 road win. Now the series shifts back to Boston, where the C’s are 7-point favorites with a total of 203.
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Miami, who are trying to become just the second 8-seed every to advance to the NBA Finals, had the lead on Saturday when Jimmy Butler made three free throws with 3.0 seconds left. But White, after inbounding the ball, ran to the rim and banked in Marcus Smart’s miss just before the buzzer. The Heat and Celtics played a Game 7 in last season’s Eastern Conference finals, where Boston prevailed 100-96 in Miami.
Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 24 points, but 15 of those came in the final quarter and he was a miserable 5-of-21 from the field. Miami will be hard-pressed to win Game 7 with that kind of an outing. Gabe Vincent, who is still dealing with a sprained left ankle, logged 41 minutes and recorded 15 points on 6-of-18 shooting. Miami shot just 35.5% in Game 6, but did hit 14-of-30 from beyond the arc.
This Boston team looked as if they had given up after getting throttled 128-102 in Game 3. But they have taken the one game at a time approach to get back in this series and are now big favorites at home. They will need to do a better job of hitting the 3-pointer. In Game 6, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were a combined 0-for-12 from long distance and the team was 7-of-35. Robert Williams was big off the bench on Saturday, recording 10 and 17 rebounds in 17 minutes. Guard Malcolm Brogdon (right forearm strain) sat out Game 6 and is listed as questionable for Monday.
The pressure is clearly on the Heat now, who missed a golden opportunity on Saturday. Boston has all the momentum and is the better team. The Celtics have had trouble at home, but they dominated in Game 5 and I can see much of the same here tonight. I’ll lay the points.
Check out who Bobby Babowski has on his Free NBA Picks page for today.
Pick: Celtics -7