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|Team||Point Spread||Total||Money Line|
|Boston Celtics||+2.5 -109||O 218 -112||+114|
|Miami Heat||-2.5 -112||U 218 -109||-136|
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The Boston Celtics are coming off of an excellent victory over the Toronto Raptors, but that doesn’t hide their playmaking issues without Kemba Walker. While Miami continues to struggle with their own consistency issues, their team defense is expected to suffocate the Celtics as it did in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals.
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|Celtics vs Heat Information|
|What||Boston Celtics vs Miami Heat|
|Where||AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, Florida|
7:30 PM EST, January 6, 2021
|How to Watch||ESPN|
|Boston Celtics||Head-to-Head||Miami Heat|
|Brad Stevens||Head Coach||Erik Spoelstra|
|5-3 (4th in East)||Standing||3-3 (9th in East)|
|112.9 (7th of 30)||Off Rtg||104.3 (26th of 30)|
|112.0 (21st of 30)||Def Rtg||106.1 (7th of 30)|
|100.4 (20th of 30)||Pace||101.5 (14th of 30)|
Leaders (Per Game)
|J. Brown (26.9)||PPG||B. Adebayo (19.2)|
|T. Thompson (8.7)||RPG||B. Adebayo (8.0)|
|M. Smart (6.7)||APG||G. Dragic (5.5)|
|J. Teague (1.7)||SPG||J. Butler (2.8)|
|R. Williams (1.6)||BPG||K. Olynyk (1.0)|
|R. Williams (.750)/J. Brown (10.8)||FG%/FGM||B. Adebayo (.672)/B. Adebayo (7.5)|
|J. Teague (.583)/J. Tatum (3.4)||3P%/3PM||A. Bradley (.522)/D. Robinson (3.0)|
Jayson Tatum was brilliant in his last match against the Toronto Raptors and with that, many of the other Celtics starters were able to have a more reserved night. Against one of the leagues best defensive sides, Tatum showed he can be near unstoppable.
Tatum scored 40 points in his last game on 57.9% from the field and 62.5% from three. But with his scoring came opportunities for the young players and they converted efficiently. The combination of Payton Pritchard, Semi Ojeleye, Grant Williams, and Robert Williams combined for 60 points on 58.3% shooting, while also hitting eight three-pointers.
When the Heat was able to collapse on Tatum in last year’s playoffs, the Celtics were rendered ineffective. If Boston’s role players can have close to the same efficiency as they did against the Raptors when they face the Heat, they could break Miami’s defence wide open.
Erik Spoelstra has rolled out six different starting lineups over the Heat’s last six games. While the veteran head coach has been known for tinkering with his team, the Heat’s opening six games have been less than stellar. After defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder, he may finally be able to settle on a group.
In a 28 point drubbing of the Thunder, the Miami Heat seemed comfortable with a lineup of Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, and Kelly Olynyk. With the pairing of Olynyk and Adebayo, their issues on the boards are sorted while Herro and Robinson provide the shooting needed off Jimmy Butler’s creation.
The Heat doesn’t come off as a deep team if you’re looking for additional scoring, but their defensive gameplan remains resolute and effective.
Payton Pritchard is a bucket ☔️
? 18 PTS
? 7-10 FG
? 8 AST pic.twitter.com/jczMBsJRlC
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) January 5, 2021
Who? That’s right, Payton Pritchard the 2020 Pac-12 Player of the Year and Bob Cousy Award winner has stepped up for the Celtics as of late and has rewarded Brad Stevens’ faith in him. While he still has a long way to go, he is coming off of a stellar performance against one of the NBA‘s most devastating backcourts.
Pritchard posted 23 points and eight assists on 8-13 shooting from the field in Boston’s 12 points victory against the Toronto Raptors on Monday. Faced with Toronto’s full-court defense, Pritchard was not only able to break the press but also dish and create in the halfcourt.
We’re not here saying that Pritchard will be displacing Kemba Walker upon his return, but his play against the Raptors looked very sustainable. Pritchard still struggled on the defensive end, allowing his fair share of Fred Vanvleet’s 35 points, but the signs are there for him to be a solid role player.
The Olynyk Klynyk was in session tonight ?
19 Pts / 5 threes / 8 Rebs pic.twitter.com/raCaPYjJQp
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 5, 2021
A forgotten man at times for the Miami Heat, Kelly Olynyk is a stretch-five that can open up Miami’s offensive options without sacrificing much on the defensive end.
A smart defender and efficient shooter, Olynyk has come in and sorted out Miami’s spacing issues. He posted 19 points and eight rebounds in the Heat’s 28 point victory over the Thunder.
Against Boston, Olynyk will be crucial in drawing paint defenders Daniel Theis and Tristan Thompson out of the paint. After going 5-7 from three against the Thunder, his threat from deep could be a difference-maker against the Celtics.
Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.
Email: [email protected]More info on Christian Jope
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