GAME PREVIEW: Heat head back to Boston looking to close the series out 4-1
After a flat performance in game 4, Miami has a chance for redemption tonight one win away from the NBA Finals.
The Miami Heat will get another crack at closing out the Boston Celtics tonight. Going into TD Garden with a 3-1 series lead, it is absolutely expected to be a hostile environment. Boston made it clear in game 4 that they will not go away without a fight, as they pounded the Heat on their home floor in the second half, winning the game by double digits. Miami’s offense went stagnant following halftime, and it was a struggle on both ends of the floor.
Jimmy Butler spoke to media after the game 4 loss, and brought some words of encouragement and optimism to the team and fan base:
“Only thing I’m going to say is we’ll be ok. Let’s get back to doing what we’ve always done to get to this point, continually having belief in one another, knowing we’re gonna win. And we will.”
Butler and Bam Adebayo specifically struggled. Butler still was able to put together a 29 point outing, but he was just 9/21 from the field. He missed a lot of bunnies right under the rim that Heat fans are so accustomed to seeing him make.
Adebayo has to find a way to be more assertive offensively tonight. Unlike Butler, he was more efficient scoring in game 4. However, the All-Star big man only attempted 7 shots, making 4 of them.
Even from before the season started, Adebayo was aiming to be more aggressive in searching for his shot. Saying that 18 shot attempts would be a good benchmark for him. The 7 shots he took last game was well off of that 18 attempt mark.
Adebayo has had a pretty solid playoffs, including a 22 point, 17 rebound, and 9 assist performance in game 2 of this Boston series just last week.
It will be crucial to see more offensive production from him tonight. Not only did he not attempt shots in game 4, but he only snatched 5 rebounds and was in foul trouble. That’s not going to get the job done.
Players like Kevin Love, Max Strus and Kyle Lowry have been particularly quiet in this series. Some sort of impact by at least 1 of those guys could go a long way.
Lowry is going to have his opportunity to prove his worth to this Miami Heat squad tonight. Gabe Vincent is listed as OUT due to a rolled ankle he suffered at the end of game 4, which is a devastating blow to the team.
Already without the services of two ball handlers in Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo, now the Heat will be without the surging Gabe Vincent. Vincent dropped a career-high 29 points in game 3.
The injury gives veteran and former NBA champion Kyle Lowry the green light to have a stand out performance.
This is the reason why Lowry was signed to that hefty contract a few summers ago; for moments like this. He has that playoff experience and fans have seen flashes of vintage Lowry throughout his stint in South Beach.
Not only would this win be crucial to put away a strong team in Boston and advance to the NBA Finals, but it would allow a full week of rest before the next and final series begins. The rest could be needed by the entire roster, but Vincent especially who is fresh off a minor injury.
Miami will have a chip on their shoulder tonight, looking for revenge and a bounce back performance. Boston eliminated Miami on their home court last season, and now the Heat have a chance to do the same thing to the Celtics tonight.
Besides Vincent, the only other players on the report are Herro and Oladipo, who are again listed as out. Nobody new is on Boston’s injury report.
Tonight’s game will be nationally televised on TNT.
Gabe Vincent (ankle) — OUT
Tyler Herro (hand) — OUT
Victor Oladipo (knee) — OUT
Danilo Gallinari (knee) — OUT
Probable Starters (at time of publishing):
Robert Williams |||
ODDS (via FanDuel)
Check the odds out at FanDuel!
Tipoff: 8:30 PM EST
Radio: AM 560 Sports WQAM & The HEAT Radio Network (Jason Jackson)
Spanish Radio: WAQI 710 AM & The HEAT Spanish Radio Network (José Pañeda)
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The minutes distribution is going to be fascinating. Need a Spo masterpiece tonight and same goes for Jimmy and Bam if they want to close this out. I was worried until Ira said they are wearing their black uniforms tonight. Once I read that I knew we were going to win :P
This is going to be a tough one. I expect Boston to come out swinging in the first half, I would not be surprised to see a double-digit deficit. If the Heat can withstand Boston's initial attack and start to counter punch after halftime, I like our odds.
But as many here have noted, we are now down three guards, so depth is becoming an issue (btw, if Boston was missing a player like Herro, how many times would we have heard about it by now? I haven't heard his name mentioned once)
My prediction, whichever team deflects more passes and dives after more loose balls wins.