Boston Celtics at Miami Heat
Thursday, 11/11/10, 8:00 PM EDT, TV: TNT
Opening Point Spread: Miami -6.5
Current Betting Line: Miami -6.5
Opening Total: 183.5
Current Total: 184.5
Boston comes into this contest after suffering a 89-87 road loss to the Dallas Mavericks in a game that saw them rally from a 14-point deficit in its fifth game in seven nights. “We pretty much got the shotes we wanted,” said head coach Doc Rivers. “They just didn’t go in. Everything was short-armed and short-rimmed.” The Celtics offense has been better this season at times, scoring 100 points or more four times this season, garnering a victory in each of those games. It’s highly unlikely that either team reaches that mark tonight with two outstanding defenses, plus the first meeting producing 168 points combined. Forward Paul Pierce leads the team in scoring 19.6 points per game and point guard Rajon Rondo is the engine in dishing out 14.8 assists per contest. The team is 3-0 ATS as an underdog and the NBA lines page confirms this.
The Celtics are 2-2 overall on the road and an even 1-1 versus the Eastern Conference in those games. Boston picked up a 3-0 series sweep during the 2009-10 season and was impressive in handing the Heat a 88-80 loss on the season’s opening night at home. “It’s just going to take time,” said Rivers of Miami’s development as a team. “They’re going to have great nights and then they’re going to have nights where they struggle.” A big factor in winning the first meeting this year was holding the Heat to just nine points in the first quarter and 30 points during the first half.
Miami’s record dropped to 5-3 on the season due to a disappointing 116-114 overtime loss at home to Utah in a game they led by 22 points in the second quarter. “We still have a long way to go,” said LeBron James. The former Cavaliers star tallied his first triple-double as a member of the Heat in the loss and is averaging 20.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 8.6 assists on the season. Guard Dwyane Wade has led the team in scoring the past four games, including a 39-point performance last time out, but knows this isn’t a perfect unit early in the year. “It hurts. It hurts to take time. No want wants to go through the process,” he commented. Miami is 4-4 ATS on the year and 28-14 ATS after allowing 105 or more points.
The Heat will be tested in a big way tonight and some have suggested that a hangover from the Utah loss may trickle into this contest. “It’s a very disappointing loss and it’s a lesson hopefully we’ll learn from this game,” said head coach Eric Spoelstra. “Teams are too good in this league. This is something our guys will not take lightly.” Miami may come out flat in the first half in games this season, but that certainly hasn’t been the case in the third quarter. The team has won the frame in seven of eight games and outscored opponents by a 221-146 margin.
Bettors will have an interested in playing the Celtics due to their 6-0 ATS mark with two days off, while the Heat are 8-3-1 ATS in their last 12 games as a favorite of 5.0 to 10.5 points.
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