Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals takes place on Friday night as the Miami Heat travel to the northeast to take on the Boston Celtics. The game is scheduled for an 8:30 pm start time and it will be televised live on ESPN. Currently the odds have Boston favored by 2 points with the total sitting at 180.5 points for the contest.
Free Analysis: The scene shifts to Boston and the Celtics find themselves in a must-win situation in tonight's Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat. Miami was able to capture the 2-0 series lead despite making just 44.6% FG and 66.0% FT (31-for-47). The Heat stars shone brightly again as LeBron James scored 34 points and Dwyane Wade pitched in 23, giving the duo a whopping 308 points (61.6 per game) during the team’s current five-game winning streak. They have won these five games by an average of 14.0 PPG (105.8 to 91.8 PPG). Two other Miami players also erased poor Game 1 performances with huge nights in Game 3. PG Mario Chalmers was 3-of-9 FG (0-for-6 threes) in Game 1, but he buried 8-of-16 shots (3-of-6 threes) on Wednesday, finishing with 22 points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals. PF Udonis Haslem was scoreless in the series opener, but poured in 13 points with 11 rebounds in Game 2. SF Shane Battier made just 3-of-9 shots and finished with nine points. Despite an amazing performance from PG Rajon Rondo in Game 2, his Celtics still lost to the Heat in overtime. Rondo scored 44 points (16-of-24 FG) with 10 assists, eight rebounds and three steals in Wednesday’s 115-111 overtime defeat. Rondo was the star in Game 2, but he had help. SF Paul Pierce recovered nicely from his 5-for-18 shooting night on Monday, knocking down 21 points on 8-of-19 FG (0-for-5 threes) with six rebounds before fouling out. Although the Celtics are happy to return home, Pierce has not played well at TD Garden in his past five games there, scoring just 14.0 PPG on 36.5% FG (3-of-13 threes) in 38.4 MPG. PF Kevin Garnett had an off-night in Game 2 (6-for-18 FG), but he has been a beast at home in the playoffs with 20.4 PPG (53.2% FG) and 10.6 RPG. SG Ray Allen more than doubled his Game 1 output (6 points on 1-of-7 FG) with 13 points (5-of-11 FG) and five rebounds on Wednesday. The Celtics were whistled for 15 more fouls than the Heat, and dished out only 15 assists on their 40 field goals. Boston shot much better in Game 2 though, making 49.4% FG, 31.3% threes (5-of-16) and 26-of-29 from the foul line (89.7%). At home Boston is 6-1 SU (3-4 ATS) in these playoffs, limiting visitors to just 82.3 PPG.
Free Pick: Watching the end of the game on Wednesday I had pretty much made up my mind who I was taking in game tonight. I'm going with the Heat. Boston threw everything they had at Miami and out played them for good stretches of the game, but they still lost and more importantly, this aging team spent a ton of energy and they may not have enough left in the tank for this one. Rondo is the engine that makes this Boston team go and he played every minute of Game 2, so you can expect him to be a bit tired here and if he needs frequent rest periods then Boston will really struggle. Miami also had a few players that played a ton of minutes, but they are younger, so I don't expect that to bother them all that much. Miami is rolling right now and they have averaged 102.6 ppg in their last 5 games and when your a tired team it's hardest to play good defense. I don't see Boston being able to keep pace with Miami here.
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