On the back of a of a 20-year old rookie named Tyler Herro, the Miami Heat have taken a commanding 3-1 series lead against the third-seeded Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The club from South Florida is now just win away from being the first team to punch a ticket to the 2020 NBA Finals in the NBA Bubble from Orlando, Florida on Friday as they meet in Game 5.
Heat rookie Tyler Herro scored 37 points in Game 3 as Miami opened up a 3-1 series lead over Boston. (AP)
Betting Odds - Celtics vs. Heat
The Celtics find themselves trailing the Heat by two games in this series, but Boston is still found on the majority of Vegas betting boards as a three and a half-point favorite to force a Game 6 in this year’s Eastern Conference Finals against Miami.
‘Under’ tickets have been golden in the NBA Playoffs thus far, but the same cannot be said when these teams two teams meet up, as three out of four games in this series have soared over the total. The ‘over-under’ for the fifth tilt in this series has gotten a slight bump up to OU 213.
Game 4 Recap
The Celtics choked away double-digit deficits in their first two losses of this series, but the loss by Brad Stevens’ team on Wednesday night was somehow even uglier.
Jayson Tatum was held scoreless during the first half of Game 4, putting his team in a difficult position to be successful in what has proven to be the most crucial contest for the Celtics thus far. He turned it on in the second half after it was already too late though, going for 28 points on 62.5% shooting in the final two stanzas.
On most days, Tatum’s second half explosion might have been just enough to send his team over the edge, but on this given Wednesday night, it was not nearly enough against Miami’s rookie off the bench from the University of Kentucky. Herro scored 37 points on 67% shooting and banged home 5 of 10 3-pointers against the Celtics in Game 4.
Miami has now cashed ‘underdog money line’ tickets in three out of four games in this series. They will look to do it one last time against the favorited Celtics on Friday night.
Game 4 Betting Results
It was a tale of two halves in Game 3 for total bettors and those playing the 'under' certainly weren't happy.
After the pair combined for just 94 points in the first 24 minutes, the offensive units came alive in the second-half and posted 59 and 68 points in the third and fourth quarter respectively.
Neither team shot from distance but the pair went a combined 41-of-48 from the charity stripe and those free points with no running clocks, 16 in the fourth quarter, are daggers for 'under' tickets.
Outcome: Heat 112 Celtics 109
Celtics vs. Heat
It all did not matter though because Herro had the game of his young life so far, going for 37 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists off the bench – the most points ever in a game by a Heat bench player in the post-season.
What Miami really had going for them on Wednesday night was its 2-3 defensive zone. The Celtics really wanted to emphasize a drive-and-kick scheme in Game 4, but the Heat defense did a phenomenal job of protecting the paint and closing out on shooters, giving Boston fits on offense for the whole contest.
Eric Spoelstra is not given enough credit for what he has done with his team. Look for the Heat to utilize that zone again on Friday night.
Inside the Stats
This is tough because Boston has been favorites in every game so far in this series, and I have agreed with the oddsmakers on every occasion – just like I do here.
I really think the Celtics will win on Friday night and force a Game 6; maybe even a Game 7. Not if the Heat are going to continue to get explosive assistance from guys not named Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo though.
If you would have told me Butler would not be the best player on the floor for a single game of this series, I would have guessed there is no way the Heat are in contention to win this series – but here they are, rolling the third seed in the East.
The Celtics need to figure out a way to contain these Heat role players. Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown have been great all year locking down the perimeter on defense. It all seems to have fallen apart here in this series though with Dragic and Herro exploding in their respective contests.
They figured out how to keep it under control in Game 3, and I think they will figure it out again on Friday night. Can they put together three consecutive wins though? Only time will tell. To start, they need to stop turning the ball over and drive into the paint more instead of settling for unassisted 3’s.
Romeo Langford is out for the season with a wrist injury after playing just a few minutes off the bench for the Celtics in this series.
Some may be asking, “Who is Langford?”
By trading down to acquire Tatum in the 2017 draft, Boston acquired Sacramento’s 2019 first round pick from Philadelphia. Miami and Sacramento both finished last season with 39-43 records, so essentially a coin flip was used to determine which teams would receive picks 13-14.
Miami won the tiebreaker, so it received the 13th selection and the Celtics received the 14th. The Heat selected Tyler Herro with the 13th pick of the 2019 NBA draft while the Celtics selected Romeo Langford with the 14th pick of the 2019 NBA draft.
Tough break Boston fans!
The Celtics have way too solid of a roster to get knocked off by the Heat in just five quick contests in the Eastern Conference Finals. I really believe somebody is going to step up in a big way for Boston on Friday night and keep their team in it for at least one more game. There is no way Herro goes off for 37 again in Game 5.
Give me Boston -3.5 here as I doubt the Celtics have come this far in the bubble just to go down quietly in five against Miami.