Miami (2-1) at Boston (1-2)
When: Monday, May 23rd 2022
Where: TD Garden,
Time: 8:30 ET | TV: ESPN
Opening Odds: Boston -7/208.5
The Miami Heat didn’t have their superstar in the second half of Saturday’s Game 3 in Boston, but had a big enough lead that it didn’t matter. The Heat hope to have Jimmy Butler back on the court Monday for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals at the Boston Celtics. Butler sat out the second half of Saturday’s game due to right knee inflammation after the training staff made the call. An update of his status will be made on Monday and the Heat will sorely miss him if he can’t go. Miami recorded 19 steals while forcing 24 Boston turnovers in the 109-103 victory. The Heat never trailed and led by 26 early in the second quarter. Still, the Celtics had a chance to post a comeback before the Heat held them off down the stretch.
Miami led by 13 with 6:30 left before Boston went on a 12-0 run. Jaylen Brown got hot and scored 10 of those points, including a 3-pointer that cut the Heat’s lead to 93-92 with 2:40 to play. Miami woke up as Max Strus hit a 3-pointer, Bam Adebayo hit a jumper and P.J. Tucker made two free throws to make it 100-92 with 1:07 left. The Celtics played without Robert Williams III (left knee) and Jayson Tatum briefly left in the fourth quarter due to a right shoulder stinger. Boston shot well, making 48.6 percent from the field and 12-of-32 from 3-point territory. The Celtics are 6.5-point favorites for Monday’s Game 4, but that could change with the status on Butler.
Miami got a huge – and much-needed – performance from Adebayo both offensively and defensively. Adebayo finished with 31 points and 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals. The Miami center was 15-of-22 shooting after attempting just 10 shots over the first two games. The Heat’s 24 takeaways resulted in 33 points on Saturday. Meanwhile, Miami turned the ball over just nine times for just 9 Boston points. If Butler can’t go, Victor Oladipo will step in and he had a big defensive game on Saturday. Kyle Lowry played for the first time in the series and scored 11 points with 6 assists and 4 steals. Butler had eight points in 20 minutes before leaving Game 3 after averaging 35 points over the first two games.
Some of the blame for Saturday’s loss can be laid on Tatum, who made just 3-of-14 shots and committed six turnovers while being limited to 10 points. Tatum has committed 16 turnovers in the series and briefly left the game in the fourth quarter after falling to the floor while committing a turnover due to a stinger in his neck and right shoulder. Point guard Marcus Smart also left the game briefly after sustaining a sprained right ankle in the third quarter. Brown finished with 40 points on 14-of-20 shooting but also had seven turnovers. He became the first Celtic ever to score at least 40 points on 70 percent shooting or better in a playoff game. Al Horford contributed 20 points and 14 rebounds.
This is a tough game to handicap when you don’t know if Miami’s superstar will play. Either way, I think 6.5 points is too much and I can see the Heat role players picking up the slack.
Check out who Bobby Babowski has on his Free NBA Picks page for today.
Pick: Heat +6.5