Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals takes place on Tuesday night as the Boston Celtics travel to South Beach to take on the Miami Heat. The game is scheduled for an 8:30 pm start time and it will be televised live on ESPN. Currently the odds have Miami favored by 8 points with the total sitting at 179 points for the contest.
Free Analysis: The Celtics found a way to outlast the Heat 93-91 in overtime in Game 4, and now the Eastern Conference Finals are all tied up at two games apiece as the teams travel to South Beach for tonight's Game 5. The C’s blew an 18-point lead in the second half and were bailed out when LeBron James (29 points) fouled out for the first time in a Heat uniform. All five Boston starters scored in double figures, but the team scored a measly 32 points after halftime, a huge dropoff from its 61 first-half points. Allen had his third straight double-figure scoring output with 16 points (4-of-11 threes) in Game 4, while Pierce was able to contribute 23 points (8-of-18 FG) and six rebounds before fouling out. Only two other Celtics outside The Big Four even scored a field goal on Sunday. Starting PF Brandon Bass notched 11 points and seven rebounds in his 33 minutes of action while reserve PG Keyon Dooling added 10 points in just 16 minutes. Although Miami dominated points in the paint (48-38), many of the other Game 4 statistics were quite even. Boston had two more assists (22-20), one more block (7-6) and two fewer turnovers (15-17), while Miami had one more rebound (40-39) and three more free-throws made (17-14). Boston is a woeful 17-24 SU (20-21 ATS) on the road this season, which includes four straight road defeats by an average of 8.5 PPG. The big news for Tuesday is that Miami PF Chris Bosh might actually play. He’s missed the past nine games with an abdominal strain, and is listed as day-to-day. The duo of James and Dwyane Wade continues to lead the Miami offense. James’ 29 points and six rebounds were helpful in Game 4, but his seven turnovers and six fouls proved costly. Wade scored 20 points, but hurt his team with his shooting, making just 7-of-22 shots, including missing the game-winning three-point attempt in the closing seconds of overtime. Wade had a stellar all-around game on Sunday though, with seven rebounds, six assists, three steals and three blocks. Speaking of stellar, PF Udonis Haslem was a beast in Game 4 with 12 points and a whopping 17 rebounds (four offensive). He could take a back seat to Bosh on Tuesday if the Heat All-Star PF is able to return. In the regular season, Bosh averaged a double-double against Boston (11.7 PPG, 10.3 RPG), but shot just 42.9% from the floor. Miami is 35-6 (23-17-1 ATS) at home this season, outscoring these opponents by an average of 100.4 to 88.9 PPG.
Free Pick: I like the Heat in this one. I expected them to win at least one of the games in Boston, but the crowd gave the C's a bit more energy than I thought they would and they used that energy to take both games. Although Rondo has had a magnificent East Finals series (24.0 PPG, 10.5 APG, 7.0 RPG), he has to be tired after logging 46.8 minutes per game. But at least Rondo is still young at 26 years old, which is not the case for Garnett (36), SG Ray Allen (36) or SF Paul Pierce (34), who played 43, 46 and 39 minutes, respectively on Sunday night. This team has to be tired. Miami plays excellent at home and they have outscored their opponent by 11.5 ppg on this floor this year, plus Boston does come in having lost their last 4 on the road by an average of 8.5 ppg. The Heat may also have the added bonus of getting Bosh back in this one as well. The Heat has lost just 6 times on this floor and after coming out flat in their last 2 games they will look to put the Celtics away early. Boston will fold in the second half of this one as the heat win by 15+
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