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Heat vs. Celtics: NBA Picks and Predictions

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Heat vs. Celtics: NBA Picks and Predictions
Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat brings the ball up court. Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images/AFP

The Miami Heat (37-31) look to stay a step ahead of the Boston Celtics (35-33) and to avoid falling into the play-in tournament. The Heat evened the season series against Boston on Sunday with a 130-124 win. This rematch can be seen on TNT.

Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics 

Tuesday, May 11, 2021 – 07:30 PM EDT at TD Garden 

The Heat are a 1-point road favorite at many top sportsbooks for NBA. Celtics forward Jaylen Brown will reportedly miss the rest of the season with a torn ligament in his wrist. Without Brown, Boston has lost two in a row while the Heat have won nine of their last 12 games. 

Sunday Recap

On Sunday afternoon, these teams both shot exceptionally well from the field in a high-scoring game (130-124). Miami made 57.3% of its field goals, the best game any team has had against the Celtics this season. Boston shot 54.2% from the field, its highest FG% in a loss this season. 

It was the first time all season the Heat scored 130 points in regulation. Jimmy Butler led the way with 26 points while also grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out 11 assists. Butler also scored 26 points in the first meeting this season back in January, won 107-105 by the Celtics.

On Sunday, the Celtics got 30 points from Evan Fournier and 29 points from Jayson Tatum, but Boston trailed by 26 points at halftime and never led in the game. The Celtics cut the lead to six a couple times late in the fourth quarter, but Miami responded both times with big three-point shots in one of the team’s best three-point shooting games of the season (45.7%).

It was the first time all season the Celtics scored at least 120 points in regulation and still lost. Boston was 16-0 in that situation before Sunday. Which offense cools down more on Tuesday night?

Recent Play

These teams met in the Eastern Conference Finals last season. Both have a very difficult path to get back there this season. The Celtics are especially in trouble with Brown’s injury. The Heat had that putrid 7-14 start to the season but have gone 30-17 since then. Still, it is going to be hard to deal with the likes of the 76ers, Nets, and Bucks in the playoffs.

However, Miami is again playing well as the playoffs draw near. In the last 12 games, Miami is 9-3 and ranks eighth in Net Rating (plus-5.3) with the No. 4 Offensive Rating. Over the same time, the Celtics are 5-7 and rank 21st in Net Rating (minus-1.4).

The Heat will not shoot 57.3% from the field again on Tuesday, but Miami has shot better than 50% in five of its last six games. The one time it did not was in a loss to Dallas. That was also the one game Butler missed as Miami won the other five games with Butler available.

One optimistic take on Brown’s injury and absence: Boston’s Net Rating with him on the court versus off is only plus-0.1 this season, not drastically changing for offense or defense.

Even though it was not enough for a comeback win, Boston was able to outscore Miami 71-51 in the second half on Sunday. If the Celtics could start Tuesday’s game as well as they finished the last one, then we could see a much different outcome this time. However, recent play certainly favors Miami, especially in offensive efficiency.

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Prediction

Boston and Miami have been bottom-tier teams to bet on this season as neither covers more than 47% of the time. Miami has been a streaky team, covering 55.6% of the time following a win this season, which ranks fifth in the league. Boston is 21-14 SU at home, but only 17-17-1 ATS.

Miami is 8-4 ATS over the last 12 games while Boston is on a run of 3-8 ATS. Boston is only 3-7 ATS in games with a spread smaller than two points this season. This feels like a game that will be decided by single digits, but with the spread close to a pick ‘em, I am going to trust the better team from Miami to pull off the win for my NBA picks this Tuesday night. 

NBA pick: Heat -1 (-110) with Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

Heat -1(-110)
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*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.