Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Sportsbook Advisor

NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals Game 6 Preview: Boston Celtics (2-3) at Miami Heat (3-2)

After losing the first three games of the Eastern Conference finals, the Boston Celtics didn’t look like a team ready to flash some dominance.

But after winning the past two games by an average of 15 points, the Celtics are very much alive. They will seek to tie the best-of-seven series at three victories apiece with the Heat on Saturday when the teams play Game 6 in Miami.

No NBA team has overcome a 3-0 deficit to win a series but Boston is now halfway there after staving off elimination for the third and fourth times this postseason. The Celtics also recorded two such wins against the Philadelphia 76ers in the conference semifinals.

The Celtics never trailed and led by as many as 24 points in Thursday’s game. Two nights earlier, they led by as many as 18 during a 116-99 road win.

The stellar play comes after Boston appeared ready to start the offseason after it was whipped 128-102 in Game 3.

Suddenly, the pressure is on the Heat.

The thought of possibly playing a Game 7 in Boston in a winner-take-all affair isn’t appealing.

And that makes Saturday’s contest feel like a must-win for both teams.

Yet Miami star Jimmy Butler is downplaying his team’s recent issues.

Butler scored a series-low 14 points and has failed to reach 20 in two of the past three games.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra befuddled Joe Mazzulla over the first three games but it was the first-year Celtics coach pushing all the right buttons over the past two games.

Mazzulla didn’t have any profound explanation for the turnaround.

Heat center Bam Adebayo made it clear that his club’s confidence remains high.

Boston had four 20-point scorers in Game 5. Derrick White made six 3-pointers and led the way with 24 points, Marcus Smart scored 23 and Tatum and Brown each scored 21.

Duncan Robinson led Miami with 18 points.

Heat guard Gabe Vincent (ankle) missed Game 5 and his status for Saturday hasn’t yet been firmed up.

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