Celtics at Heat Game 7: What bettors need to know
Boston Celtics at Miami Heat (-7.5, 178)THE STORY:
LeBron James has a tough act to follow when the Miami Heat host the Boston Celtics in Saturday’s Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. James had 45 points and 15 rebounds in a terrific performance as Miami staved off elimination in Game 6 to even the best-of-7 series at 3-3. Boston won Game 5 in Miami but needs a second road breakthrough to advance to the NBA Finals. The winner meets the Oklahoma City Thunder.TV:
8:30 p.m. ET, ESPNABOUT THE CELTICS:
Boston will rely on its veterans to quickly put the 98-79 home beatdown behind them with an NBA Finals berth on the line. Forward Paul Pierce will be under the microscope after a poor Game 6 in which he scored just nine points on 4-for-18 shooting. Pierce has connected on just 33.6 percent of his field-goal attempts in the series while playing on a gimpy knee. Forward Kevin Garnett had his worst contest of the series with 12 points and five rebounds after being a resounding force with four double-doubles over the first five games. Point guard Rajon Rondo has committed 12 turnovers over the past two games.ABOUT THE HEAT:
James had a focused approach in Game 6 while becoming just the second player in NBA playoff history to have a game of at least 45 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. Wilt Chamberlain had 50 points, 15 rebounds and six assists back in the 1964 playoffs against the St. Louis Hawks. James made 19 of 26 shots and dominated from the outset under the pressure of the win or go home stage. “I didn’t use any motivation,” James said. “I just went to my habits. I went to what I built over the course of the season, over the course of the years, and just went out and played.” James is averaging 34 points and 10.8 rebounds in the series.
- Heat are 1-4 ATS in their last five games overall
- Over is 4-1 in the last five meetings.
- Celtics are 8-2 ATS in the last 10 meetingsBUZZER BEATERS:
1. James is the first player to score 25 or more points in six consecutive playoff games against the Celtics since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did it seven straight times for the Milwaukee Bucks in 1974.
2. Pierce, Garnett and Ray Allen had a combined 31 points in Game 6, their lowest in a playoff game as a trio in five seasons since becoming teammates.
3. Miami forward Chris Bosh (lower abdominal strain) played 28 minutes in Game 6 and is expected to see his minutes increase for the finale.