The Miami Heat won the opening clash of their Western Conference finals series against the Boston Celtics. As usual, Jimmy Butler was in the middle of attention, and so far, he could be the best player in the entire playoffs. Though, this victory doesn’t have to mean anything because the Cs opened the previous stage with a defeat. In the end, they would eliminate the NBA champions and continue their pursuit of the Larry O’Brien trophy. Tatum and the boys know how to respond, and we are now waiting to see their reaction.
Boston Celtics (+155) have a problem called Marcus Smart and Al Horford. These two guys are out, and they are pretty important pieces of the Cs’ puzzle. Smart is the Defensive Player of the Year, while on the other end, Horford is one of the most experienced players on the court and very versatile and useful. He might be the most intelligent player on the team.
Tatum had 29 points with eight boards and six assists. He had four steals but seven turnovers and 11 misses from his 21 field-goal attempts. Meanwhile, Jaylen Brown scored 24 buckets with 10 boards, while Robert Williams II and Payton Pritchard added 18 each.
The defense was the problem for the Celtics, who managed to restrain Giannis and the champs under 100 points in some of the previous games. They allowed 119 on Tuesday night and almost 49% of the shooting percentage to the Heat.
Miami Heat (-180) boosted its confidence with this victory. It was imperative for the home unit to start with a victory and to begin the series successfully, especially because the pressure was on them to use Smart’s and Horford’s absence.
Jimmy Butler was magnificent with 41 points. He had five offensive boards, nine in total, five assists and four steals with three blocks, truly e memorable performance. in 41 minutes on the floor, he made 12 of his 19 shots and missed just one of 18 free throws.
Five more players among the Heat had a double-digit number of points. Tyler Herro came off the bench to score 18 buckets and grab eight boards, while Gabe Vincent scored 17, once again proving that he might be the ace upon Spoelstra’s sleeve for this series.
Head to Head Games
Game 1 saw Miami’s 118-107 victory. The Heat crushed the rivals in the third period, outscoring them 39-14 during those 12 minutes. Miami exploded after the half, using all the rivals’ weaknesses who didn’t expect such a burst right after the pause.
Those two players are probably out for the Celtics, with the note that Horford has some chances to appear, while Smart’s status isn’t promising at all. That is why we have to go with the Heat once again. Boston’s rotation is much weaker without Smart and Horford, and the defense is especially vulnerable without them. Smart could compete with Butler and Herro, while on the other side, Horford is protecting the space and the rim extraordinary. Therefore, we believe that these absences are a big blow for Udoka and that they can’t be covered up.
Pick: Miami Heat wins
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.