- It’s an Eastern Conference showdown on Sunday, May 9th with the Heat and Celtics facing off
- Miami is just one game ahead of Boston currently for the final playoff spot
- Get the odds, preview, and prediction for this contest below
The Eastern Conference playoff and Play-In race is heating up. Two teams in the thick of things are the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics, who meet on Sunday, May 8th for an afternoon matchup at the TD Garden.
Last year’s Conference finalists find themselves at a very different place this season, with both clubs battling it out to secure a top-six seed and avoid the Play-In Tournament. Miami is coming off an important win against Minnesota, while Boston was blown out by the Bulls.
The Celtics pulled out a slim 107-105 win over the Heat in early January in their first contest of the 2020/21 campaign. This is also the first of a back-to-back between the East rivals.
Heat vs Celtics Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline at FanDuel||Total Points|
|Miami Heat||+1.5 (-110)||+104||TBD|
|Boston Celtics||-1.5 (-110)||-122||TBD|
Odds as of May 8th
The Celtics head into this one as slim 1.5-point favorites.
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Heat Getting Hot at Perfect Time
It hasn’t been the type of year that Miami likely envisioned after losing in the NBA Finals last fall, but they’re finding a rhythm at the best time possible. Erik Spoelstra’s squad is 7-3 in the last 10 games, but their fate will ultimately be determined by the next four contests.
The Heat have one of the toughest conclusions to the season of any team in the NBA. They play Boston twice, then also face the 76ers and Bucks. Needless to say, the best version of Miami will need to show up each and every night.
Friday’s victory over the lowly Timberwolves should hopefully give them some momentum for Sunday. Tyler Herro dropped a team-high 27 points, while Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic had 25 and 23, respectively.
Seeing Herro get hot is extremely important for the Heat as he played a key part in their run in the 2020 playoffs. This was his first game in two weeks because of foot soreness. The former Kentucky standout will be looking to ride the wave and keep it going down the stretch.
Wanna know the impact @raf_tyler had in his return last night? 1 stat – a game-high plus-21 rating
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) May 8, 2021
The Celtics will possibly be without a key figure in their backcourt as well in Jaylen Brown, who is listed as questionable due to an ankle injury. This is a clear opportunity for Miami to keep their impressive streak going from beyond the arc, where they’ve shot 41% across the last four games. Boston is also statistically one of the worst teams in the Association at defending the three-ball.
Crunch Time For Boston
It’s no secret that the Celtics have immensely struggled this season. They’re brimming with talent from Jayson Tatum to Kemba Walker, but health has been a glaring issue. Their core four of Tatum, Brown, Marcus Smart and Walker have played minimal games together, which has resulted in a subpar campaign.
However, Brad Stevens’ team still has a chance at making the playoffs and avoiding the league’s new Play-In format. This back-to-back with Miami could very well be the two most important matchups of their season. If there was any time to show up and show out, it would be now.
Boston was dominated by Chicago on Friday, losing by 22 points. It was another average performance on both ends, with Tatum collecting a scarce nine points. Kemba Walker’s 33 was a bright spot, but the rest of the rotation didn’t do much alongside him.
On a more positive note, the C’s are 21-13 at the TD Garden this season as they prepare for Sunday. After getting beat up, one would think that Boston will come out of the gates firing against Butler and co. Winning this game on the boards will prove to be important as well. The Celtics rank 13th in the league in rebounds per game, while the Heat are 28th.
Despite Kemba Walker logging a season-high 33 points tonight, we weren’t able to hold off the Bulls. pic.twitter.com/9eLIUAmIrm
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 8, 2021
Celtics, Heat Should Keep Things Tight
The spread is extremely close here because, on paper, Boston and Miami are very similar teams. Therefore, ATS records won’t play much of a factor. Moneyline will be your best bet.
The Heat are just .500 on the road and I think you’re going to see the C’s bounce back with a crucial victory on home court. Expect Tatum to have a banner night after being practically invisible in Chi-Town.
Pick: Boston Celtics (-122)
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