- The Boston Celtics will try to even the series with the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final on Sept 23 at 8:30 PM EST
- Boston won Game 3 by a 117-106 count and covered as 3.0-point favorites
- Read below to find odds and our best bet for Game 4 of the 2020 Eastern Conference Final
The Boston Celtics are back in the NBA Eastern Conference final hunt.
Boston’s 117-106 victory over the Miami Heat in Game 3 cut Miami’s lead in the series to 2-1.
Oddsmakers believe that Boston will keep on thrashing away at Miami’s advantage.
Boston is the -146 favorite to win Game 4 in the Heat vs Celtics odds when the series resumes Wednesday (8:30 pm ET).
Celtics vs Heat Game 4 Odds
|Boston Celtics||-138||-2.5 (-114)||O 210.5 (-110)|
|Miami Heat||+118||+2.5 (-105)||U 210.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Sept. 20 at FanDuel
The loss was just the second for Miami in the 2020 NBA playoffs. The Heat haven’t lost consecutive games in this postseason.
Celtics Flipping The Script
Boston is reversing the role from the Celtics’ second-round series against the Toronto Raptors. In that set, Boston won the first two games, and Toronto won two in a row.
Eventually, the Celtics prevailed in seven games.
The Heat needed just five games to topple the Milwaukee Bucks, the top seed in the East. Miami swept the Indiana Pacers in the opening playoff round.
The Heat last lost back-to-back games in the final two games of NBA regular-season play.
Maintaining Their Edge
Miami won the first two games of the series by a combined total of eight points. In both games, Boston blew double-digit leads.
Saturday, the Celtics pushed the tempo from the get-go. Boston led by 13 at halftime and pushed that advantage to 19 points in the second half. This time, when Miami closed to within five points, Boston kept its composure and extinguished the Heat.
🏀 GAME 3 FINAL SCORE 🏀
Kemba: 21 PTS, 4 3PM
Smart: 20 PTS, 6 AST
Bam: 27 PTS, 16 REB, 3 STL pic.twitter.com/da0AJ77tki
— NBA (@NBA) September 20, 2020
Jaylen Brown (26), Jayson Tatum (25), Kemba Walker (21), and Marcus Smart (20) all scored at least 20 points. According to ESPN Stats & Info, it was just the second time in 25 years that the Celtics’ had four 20-point scorers in a postseason game.
Boston also scored 60 points in the paint for just the second time in the past 20 postseasons. While Boston was taking the ball hard to the hoop, Miami’s vaunted 3-point shooters were hitting just 27% from beyond the arc.
That included a dismal 4-for-26 in the second half.
Another boost for Boston going forward was the Game 3 return of Gordon Hayward. He’d missed a month with a right ankle sprain.
In his first game back, Hayward played 31 minutes. He scored six points on 2-for-7 shooting while adding four assists, five rebounds, three steals, and a block.
Brad Stevens on Gordon Hayward's first game back: "I thought he did what he’s done all year. He didn’t shoot it quite as much, but he is a stabilizing force for our team … He makes us better, that’s for sure."
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) September 20, 2020
More importantly, Hayward gave Boston a better look off the bench and his presence enabled the Celtics to go to their no-center formation.
With that group’s ball movement and playmaking helped to crack Miami’s zone defense. In Boston’s last 19 games, the Celtics are 6-0 with Hayward. They’re 7-6 without him.
In two regular-season games against the Heat, Hayward averaged 22 points per game.
Heat Is On Miami
For the first time in the playoffs, the Heat are in a position where they need to respond, or they’ll be in trouble. Miami didn’t lose to Milwaukee until the Heat were up 3-0 in the series.
Overall, through three games, Boston has led for 112 minutes. Miami’s been in front for only 37 minutes.
Former teammates Jaylen Brown and Jae Crowder got into it 👀 pic.twitter.com/ybejxpOVsc
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 20, 2020
The Celtics were able to dictate the game the way they wanted it played in Game 3. They were smarter with the ball and more aggressive and assertive on offense.
Miami has displayed some serious offensive issues in all three games. Here’s another interesting tidbit – in Boston’s last 12 bubble games, the designated home team is 0-12.
Miami is the Game 4 home team.
Pick: Boston Celtics -138, -2.5 (-114)
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