|2 MIA (-108) @ Betamerica|
My 10* Situational Stunner is on the Mia Heat at 1:05 ET.
The Miami Heat surprised most (all?) by reaching the NBA Finals last season, before falling to the Lakers. The Heat took down the East's No. 1 seed Milwaukee in the second round and Boston (No. 3 seed) in the Eastern Conference Finals. The current season has been a challenge for both the Heat and Celtics, as Miami is currently 36-31 (No. 6 seed) and Boston is 35-32 (No. 7). Boston will play host to Miami on Sunday afternoon (ESPN) and then take on the Heat again Tuesday night (TNT), also in TD Garden. BOTH teams desperately want to avoid the 7-10 "Play-In" tournament and if either team is able to sweep this two-game set, that team would likely avoid the 'play-in." The Heat and Celtics have met only once so far this season, back on Jan 6 in Miami when Boston won 107-105. For the Celtics, splitting this two-game series would give them the tiebreaker advantage (could be a difference-maker).
Miami is coming off a 121-112 home win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday, as Jimmy Butler (21.6-7.0-7.2) scored 25 points but it was Tyler Herro (15.1-4.8-3.4) who provided the biggest spark with a game-high 27 points off the bench. Herro had not played since April 23 because of a foot injury. Miami's trade-deadline acquisition Victor Oladipo remains inactive due to right knee soreness. He has played only four games with his new team and hasn't suited up since April 8! Starting along with Butler is forward Ariza (9.2 & 4.7 in 26 games with Miami) and center Adebayo (18.9-9.0-5.4). in the backcourt, it's Nunn (14.3) and Robinson (13.0) with veteran PG Dragic (13.3 & 4.4 APG) coming off the bench.
While the Heat have won EIGHT of 11, the Celtics have lost six of their last 10 after a season-high six-game winning streak (April 7-17). Despite Kemba Walker's (18.9-3.9-4.9) season-high 33 points Friday at Chicago, the Celtics lost 121-99 to the Bulls. Jayson Tatum (26.3-7.3-4.4) and Jaylen Brown (24.7-6.0-3.4) have led the way for Boston all season but Tatum was 3-of-15 from the floor vs the Bulls (0 of 7 on three-pointers) to finish with NINE points! As for Brown, he missed his second straight game against Chicago after he sprained his right ankle late in last Sunday's loss to Portland. Danny Ainge has said that Brown will "probably" return on Sunday against Miami."
Miami is playing MUCH better than Boston right now and a Sunday win would be HUGE, as Atlanta (No. 5 seed) is just a half-game ahead of them and the New York (No. 4 seed) is juts ONE game ahead of them a STRING finished could allow the Heat to grab the No. 4 seed, giving them the homecourt edge in the first round. Let's NOT get ahead of ourselves, play the Heat of Sunday.
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