2011 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs
Second Round – Game 2
Boston Celtics at Miami Heat, American Airlines Arena
Tuesday, May 3, 2011, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Opening Line: Heat -6
Current Line: Heat -5
Opening Total: 184.5
Current Total: 181.5
Money Line: Heat -220 / Celtics +180
The Boston Celtics (60-27) breezed through the first round of the NBA playoffs, sweeping the New York Knicks in four games. But the Miami Heat (63-25) are a far superior team when compared to the Knicks, something the defending Eastern Conference champions saw first-hand on Sunday in a 99-90 Game 1 loss The Heat (-5) will now try to win their third straight game against the Celtics on Tuesday after dropping the first three meetings during the regular season.
Miami used smothering defense on Boston point guard Rajon Rondo and a game-high 38 points from Dwyane Wade to go up 1-0 in their best-of-seven semifinal playoff series. Rondo was brilliant in the first round against the Knicks, averaging 19 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds per game. However, against the Heat he battled foul trouble, turned the ball over five times and made just 3 of 10 shots from the field, finishing with eight points, seven assists and seven rebounds. That performance resembled his struggles down the stretch before the playoffs.
Wade was as good as Rondo was bad though, sinking 14 of 21 shots from the floor and 8 of 9 from the free-throw line while also dishing out five assists. LeBron James added 22 points on 8 of 19 shooting while James Jones erupted for 25 off the bench, connecting on 5 of 7 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc. Chris Bosh was relatively quiet with seven points and a game-high 12 rebounds, but more than anything the Heat showed just how dangerous they can be when two of the top five players in the league are playing at the top of their game.
“I would approach this game just like I would approach this game whether I had 12 points (in Game 1) or 38,” Wade said. “For me, every game is different with this team. Certain nights, my job is going to be different. They put a lot of attention toward LeBron so I got an opportunity to not have all eyes on me so I got into a rhythm. It might be different next game.”
The Celtics hope the main difference in Game 2 is that they get off to a better start offensively after missing 20 of their first 26 shots in the series opener. Paul Pierce also needs to keep his head in the game, as he lost his cool with seven minutes remaining and was ejected after picking up his second technical foul. Pierce scored 19 points on 6 of 14 shooting but thought his team was on the short end of the foul calls. The final numbers agree, with Miami outscoring Boston by 12 points at the charity stripe and attempting 14 more shots there.
The Heat have won the last two meetings with the Celtics both straight-up and against the spread after losing the previous four along with seven of eight. The OVER cashed for just the second time in the past six meetings and for the second game in a row overall for Miami after six UNDERs in the team’s previous seven games.
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