After four torturous hoops-less months, the NBA is back! The daily preview sees the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics jostling for Eastern Conference seeds.
08:30 (AEST), Wed 5th Aug @ HP Field House, Orlando
History: Played 139: Celtics 83 V Heat 56
Last meeting: January 28, 2020: Celtics 109 d Heat 101 at American Airlines
Final Thoughts: Two of the Eastern Conference’s heavy hitters lock horns, with the third-placed Boston Celtics hunting back-to-back wins when they meet the fourth-placed Miami Heat.
The 44-22 Celtics started life in the bubble with a 119-112 loss to the Bucks. Linchpin Kemba Walker played limited minutes, while offensive spearhead Jayson Tatum (5 pts, 3 ast) struggled big-time.
But Tatum responded superbly in a 128-124 win over the Trail Blazers, putting up 34 points and 8 assists. Jaylen Brown (30 pts, 6 reb) and Gordon Hayward (22 pts, 8 reb) also contributed strongly to the bounce-back result.
The 42-25 Heat have also recorded a win and a loss since the restart. They dominated the last two quarters of a 125-105 win over the Nuggets, Jimmy Butler (22 pts, 7 ast) and Bam Adebayo (22 pts, 9 reb, 6 ast) the stars.
Miami went toe-to-toe with Toronto but ultimately came up short 107-103. Goran Dragic (25 pts, 5 reb, 5 ast) was impressive off the bench.
The Celtics have won their last five against the Heat, including both encounters earlier this season.
Jimmy Butler (37 pts) was a one-man band for Miami in a 112-93 loss in Boston, with Jaylen Brown, Walker and Tatum combining for 78 points. Gordan Hayward (29 pts, 9 reb) was the standout of the Celtics’ 109-101 road victory.
The Celtics boast the NBA’s second-best record against the start (38-24-4). The Heat are ranked 11th ATS (34-31-2).
Miami have arguably been the more impressive of the two sides across two performances since the NBA’s resumption. The Celtics are a quality side – even an Eastern Conference title threat – but the Heat are hard to ignore as underdogs here.
OTHER NBA GAMES
|Milwaukee Bucks V Brooklyn Nets||Margin – Bucks 11-20|
|Sacramento Kings V Dallas Mavericks||Handicap – Mavericks -6 @ $1.87|
|LA Clippers V Phoenix Suns||Total – Over 230 @ $1.90|
|Indiana Pacers V Orlando Magic||Margin – Pacers 1-10|
|Portland Trail Blazers V Houston Rockets||Total – Over 244 @ $1.93|