The Boston Celtics had every opportunity to take control of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday. They were at home and coming off of a big win in Game 2. Jimmy Butler missed the second half. A 26-point lead was trimmed all the way down to a single point in the fourth quarter. But in the end, the Heat were able to hold the Celtics off and take a 2-1 lead into Monday night’s Game 4.
Now all of the pressure is back on the Celtics. Lose Game 4 and they suddenly have to win three in a row against the East’s No. 1 seed—two of which would come on the road. Will Boston be able to even this series and turn the tables on Miami? Or will the Heat take control of this thing and set themselves up to return to the Finals for the second time in three seasons? Here’s everything you need to know.
(1) Miami Heat @ (2) Boston Celtics
When: Monday, May 23 | 8:30 p.m. ET
Where: TD Garden — Boston, Massachusetts
TV: ABC | Live stream: fuboTV (try for free)
Odds: MIA +250; BOS -320; O/U 206 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Featured Game| Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat
Celtics: The Celtics have lost four games this postseason. In the four games that have followed those losses, they’re undefeated. We saw this trend play out in Game 2, when the Celtics blew the Heat out to even the series at 1-1. For whatever reason, this team has come out flat in lower-stakes playoff games, but when their backs are against the wall, they look like a championship team. Will they be able to keep that streak going against a similarly resilient Heat team?
Heat: Virtually everyone on the Heat is playing through some sort of injury. Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, Max Strus, Gabe Vincent and P.J. Tucker were all listed on the injury report, though they are all expected to play in Game 4. Tyler Herro, dealing with a groin injury, isn’t that lucky. He’s out for Game 4. The Celtics aren’t exactly healthy either. Boston hasn’t had its full roster available once in this series. But right now, Miami’s health appears to be slightly more concerning. Can the Heat stay on their feet long enough to win this series?
Boston’s desperation, superior health and history of bouncing back after losses all work in its favor. Miami has plenty of fight left for the series as a whole, but this one should go to the Celtics. The pick: Celtics 7