If the Celtics are going to go up two games to love on Dwyane Wade and the Heat tonight at home in Boston, they are going to have to do so without forward Kevin Garnett.
The Boston Celtics go for a 2-0 series lead over the Miami Heat on Tuesday night, but they’ll have to do it without power forward Kevin Garnett.
Bookmaker.com still has Boston as 1 ½-point home favorites with a total of 179 points.
Garnett has been suspended by Stu Jackson, the NBA’s executive vice president of basketball operations, for throwing an elbow that made contact with Quentin Richardson late in Game 1.
Boston (51-32 straight-up, 34-47-2 against the spread) won the home opener 85-76, ‘covering’ as 4 ½-point favorites. The Celtics were one of the worst ATS home teams during the regular season at 12-28-1.
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Miami is now 1-4, both SU and ATS, in its last five road playoff games.
The 161 combined points scored went way ‘under’ the 184-point total. The ‘under’ is 12-4-1 in the last 17 meetings in Boston, and 12-4-2 in Miami’s last 18 road games overall.
Miami actually led 61-47 halfway though the third quarter, but was outscored 38-15 from that point forward.
Garnett had 15 points and nine rebounds, while Tony Allen added 14 points off the bench. Dwyane Wade had 26 points despite being hounded by Allen. The lack of a consistent second scorer continues to haunt the Heat.
Rasheed Wallace will likely move into the starting lineup and he’s been known to step up in big games. Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis will also see more minutes off the pine, and Shelden Williams is another decent power forward on the roster.
The Celtics were 6-7 SU and 5-8 ATS in the 13 games Garnett missed this season. Wallace started in 10 of them. They played the whole playoffs last year without Garnett (knee), going 6-7-1 ATS. Davis started all 14 games in his place, scoring 15.8 PPG.
Miami (47-36 SU, 42-40-1 ATS) knows it let a winnable game slip away in the opener. This team went a red-hot 12-1 (8-4-1 ATS) down the stretch to get the fifth seed. That included an 8-0 (7-1 ATS) road record, although only two were against playoff teams.
One of the keys to the run was the bench. Udonis Haslem averaged 13.2 PPG the last 10 games, with Dorell Wright at 12 PPG. Those two combined for just eight points in Game 1, with the Heat bench getting outscored 28-15. That was pretty much the difference in the game.
Miami averaged 96.5 PPG during the season, ranked 25th in the NBA. The Heat did average over 100 PPG in the final nine contests, so the 76 points in the opener was extra disappointing.
Boston has beaten Miami all four games this season. Miami did barely ‘cover’ the only other game in Boston, a 107-102 loss as 5 ½-point ‘dogs. Paul Pierce did not play in that game back on Feb. 3.
The Celtics are 10-1 SU and 8-3 ATS in the last 11 meetings overall.
Pierce is listed as probable with a shoulder injury. His injury led to the mini-brawl and ultimately Garnett’s suspension. Miami point guard Rafer Alston was suspended for the season back in March.
This game will be broadcast on TNT at 5 p.m. (PT) from TD Banknorth Garden. There are four NBA playoff games overall on Tuesday, including the late TNT broadcast of Game 2 between the Thunder and Lakers.