- Celtics storm back in Game 5 to avoid elimination against the Miami Heat in the East Finals
- Heat outscored 70-50 in second half with a chance to book a trip to the NBA Finals
- Read below for odds, analysis and our Game 6 prediction
The Boston Celtics may have found their groove just in time.
After a spirited come-from-behind win over the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, they avoided elimination and now trail the series 3-2. They’ll try to force a winner-take-all scenario when the two teams meet for Game 6 Sunday night from the bubble in Orlando.
Celtics vs Heat Game 6 Odds
|Boston Celtics||-3.5 (-110)||-164||O 214.5 (-110)|
|Miami Heat||+3.5 (-110)||+138||U 214.5 (-110)|
FanDuel odds taken September 25. Tip-off is Sunday at 7:30pm
As has been the case in every game this series, the Celtics vs Heat odds have Boston as the betting favorite. Let’s dig into Game 6 and see if that is the way you should be angling your wagers for Sunday.
C’s Turn Things Around In Second Half
Boston looked like a team that was on the verge of elimination to start Game 5. They looked tentative and jittery, and the Heat jumped all over them, building a lead that would swell to double digits, but settled at seven points by halftime.
A look at Jayson Tatum’s 31-point night. (It was a fun one.)#Celtics pic.twitter.com/gYzdMm1UJc
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) September 26, 2020
Their second half was simply spectacular. They outscored Miami 41-25 in the third quarter (Boston’s best scoring quarter in the playoffs), swinging that deficit into a nine-point lead. They never looked back, outscoring the opposition 70-50 in the second half to win going away, 121-108.
Like he did in their other elimination game against the Raptors in Game 7, Jayson Tatum again shined for the Celtics. He finished with a game-high 31 points, adding 10 rebounds and six assists. He did much of the heavy lifting in the third quarter, scorching the Heat for 17 points.
Jaylen Brown blew a kiss to the Heat bench after making back-to-back 3s ? pic.twitter.com/iOrXVEZCGs
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 26, 2020
Jaylen Brown was stellar as well, chipping in 28 points and eight boards. The Celtics’ young dynamic duo also got much-needed support, with all five starters scoring in double digits, and an additional 10 for Gordon Hayward off the bench.
The statline had small victories across the board that added up to a big Boston win: they outrebounded the Heat 50-38, outscored them in second-chance points 15-6, in fastbreak points 17-6 and in the paint 56-48.
Heat’s Finals Trip Put On Hold
For a team lauded for its poise and ability to grind teams down, the Heat inexplicably shrunk in the biggest moment of their season.
Some of that is due to Boston’s top-ranked defense in these playoffs. Miami was held to its second-lowest scoring output this series, and the Celtics’ three-point field percentage defense — also tops in the NBA — did its job yet again. Miami was a miserable 7-for-36 in this one from deep, a paltry 19.6% clip. This from a team that was ranked second in three-point shooting in the regular season at a crisp 37.9%.
Jimmy Butler on the Heat’s mindset for Game 6: “We’ll be ready to go on Sunday, come back better and get ready to get a win.” #NBAPlayoffs
?: @NBATV pic.twitter.com/iAZAHaRLO4
— USA TODAY NBA (@usatodaynba) September 26, 2020
Jimmy Butler, vying for his first-ever trip to the NBA Finals, was not able to keep the Heat in it while the Celtics surged. In fact, Butler was just 1-for-5 in the second half for three points. Duncan Robinson, who led the team in first-half scoring with 17 points, finished with 20.
After dropping Game 5 to Boston, Bam Adebayo says: “I played like
s—t. Bottom line. I put that game on me. Not my teammates’ fault. Not my coaches’ fault. Me.”
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) September 26, 2020
Bam Adebayo, hampered by an arm injury, had his lowest scoring output in the series with 13 points, while adding eight assists and eight rebounds.
Tyler Herro, who starred in Game 4 with a game-high 37 points, was held to 14 in this one, with much of his scoring coming when the game was practically out of reach.
What’s the Best Bet?
While still the frontrunner, this will be the first time we can see how the Heat’s vaunted culture helps them in their first true adversity of the playoffs. This is just their third loss all postseason, but easily their worst and in their most important moment. Miami will need to be able to find consistent avenues of offense, especially if Boston can score like they did in Game 5.
The C’s made the right adjustments to crack what had been an impressive Miami zone defense, as evidenced by their highest scoring output in the series so far. They’ll need Tatum and Brown to shine again, while getting contributions up and down their roster and having their defense show up again.
Still, the numbers aren’t exactly in Boston’s favor: in the 277 previous times a team has fallen behind 3-1 in an NBA playoff series, only 13 times has a team come back to win — two of those instances were from the Denver Nuggets this season.
Count on Miami’s ability to regroup and get back to their usual grind, led by their all-star tandem of Butler and Bam. It should be enough to get them to the Finals.
The pick: Heat moneyline (+138)