Boston Celtics at Miami Heat
Time: 8:05 PM EST
Spread: MIA -6.5
Betting Odds Courtesy Of Bovada
This is a rematch of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals on opening night. What more could bettors and fans alike ask for on the first night of the season?
“It’s just another basketball game,” Rajon Rondo said.
It may be just another game, but it will be one of high interest. Doc Rivers was equally as quick to down play the game’s significance. “If we win, do we get a trophy?” Rivers asked sardonically. “We get one win, and that’s it.”
It isn’t bad to start the season with a win, though, and setting the tone for a great season should be a priority for both squads.
Boston enters this game as underdogs on the road, but there’s no reason to rule out a moneyline bet on the C’s upsetting the Heat. Last year, they led Miami 3-2 before Chris Bosh came back and helped Miami reel off back-to-back victories.
This year, Boston brings Jeff Green back into the fold, along with standout rookie Jared Sullinger, wingman Courtney Lee, and Jason Terry steps into the shoes left by Ray Allen. Boston is a better team this year.
Miami is the defending champs, though, and it’s always difficult to bet against LeBron James. Now a three time MVP and one-time NBA champ, he’s beginning to get the respect of those who have long said LBJ lacked a killer mentality and could never be an NBA champ. He’s still got a long ways to go before he enters the realm of Kobe and Michael, but he’s closing that gap with each passing day. His Olympic performance showed he is the best all-around basketball player in the world right now.
LeBron James vs. Paul Pierce / Jeff Green
Expect to see Jeff Green get some minutes and time covering LeBron. Paul Pierce is not the answer defensively for James, and Green is one of the better perimeter defenders on the C’s roster. Brandon Bass drew the duty of checking LBJ in the 2012 Playoffs, but Green can do a better job. Paul Pierce will see some minutes at shooting guard during the game so that he, Green, and Sullinger or Bass (if he is able to play).
Green has the lateral foot speed to stay with LeBron and he’s strong enough that he should be able to keep from being bulled by the 265 pound frame of King James.
Pierce has two seasons left on his deal with the Celtics and is quite likely to retire after that. He’s going to go all out these last two years in attempt to secure a final ring. But James is the present, James is what is happening in the Eastern Conference.
Pierce, along with the rest of the Eastern Conference hopefuls, may just be coming at the wrong time. James is going to be hard to deny, and the Heat have matured as a team a lot since coming together two years ago.
Check out our paid NBA pick plans for the 2012-13 season, as our handicappers are geared up for another fantastic season!