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NBA Eastern Conference Finals Celtics vs. Heat Game 2 Betting Preview
Game 2 between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics takes place Thursday evening, as the Heat are currently leading the series off the heels of a blowout victory in Game 1.
Because of that win, Miami heads into play favored with a -3.5 spread, as they hope to move halfway closer to the NBA Finals.
It was all Jimmy Butler in Game 1, as he went off for 41 points on 12-of-19 shooting to go along with nine rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks.
There is never a doubt that Butler is going to go out there and give it his all, as he’s going to be aggressive in finding his own shot in the mid-range or take it to the rim. Butler was also aggressive in getting to the free-throw line, where he sank 17 of his 18 attempts.
With no Marcus Smart out there for the Celtics, Butler sought out the matchup against Payton Pritchard, which just means automatic buckets for Jimmy Buckets.
Additionally, he’ll hold his own on the defensive side of the ball and hold his teammates accountable.
''Jimmy Butler is an elite competitor,'' Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said. ''There's a lot of guys in this league that are playing basketball. He's competing to win. That's a totally different thing and he does that as well as anybody in this league.''
Miami’s role players also got into the mix of things, as Tyler Herro dropped 18 points off the bench, and Gabe Vincent provided 17 points, three assists and three blocks.
Despite the loss, the Celtics got 29 points on 10-of-21 shooting to go along with eight rebounds, six assists and four steals from Jayson Tatum.
Jaylen Brown also put up 24 points to go along with 10 rebounds.
Robert Williams had 18 points and nine rebounds. Payton Pritchard added 18 points, five rebounds and four assists.
However, the Celtics were clearly missing Marcus Smart and Al Horford on the defensive end, which allowed Jimmy Butler to have his way against a usually formidable defensive group.
Smart is considered probably to play, however, which will be a big time boost as he’ll almost certainly take the defensive assignment of Butler. Smart is the newly named Defensive Player of the Year, so he is going to use his frame to body up Butler and force him to either give up the ball or take difficult shots.
Horford is expected to miss this game as well as he’s currently in the health and safety protocols.
The Pick: Heat Win
With the Heat being home for Game 2 and all the momentum behind them, expect them to come out with a ton of energy and keep their foot on the gas pedal.
Jimmy Butler is not the type of guy to lay loose and stay complacent.
With all of that being said, expect the Heat to win yet again and cover a generously small spread in the process.