Game 4 NBA Playoff Betting: Celtics hope to even series with Heat

2011 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs
Second Round – Game 4
Miami Heat at Boston Celtics, TD Garden
Monday, May 9, 2011, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Opening Line: Celtics -2
Current Line: Celtics Pick’em
Opening Total: 182
Current Total: 181
Money Line: Celtics -110 / Heat -110

Celtics Heat NBA Playoffs Game 4 Preview
Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo will be a game-time decision after dislocating his elbow in Game 3.

The Boston Celtics (61-28) rode the emotional play of Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo to a 97-81 rout of the Miami Heat (64-26) in Game 3 on Saturday and will try to carry that over to Game 4 on Monday.  Garnett scored a game-high 28 points and grabbed a game-high 18 rebounds for his best game of the series.  Rondo suffered a dislocated elbow in the victory and was somehow able to return, inspiring his teammates while playing on adrenaline that was later replaced by pain.

The Celtics easily covered as 3-point favorites while the total dipped UNDER for the first time in three games.  The injury to Rondo’s left elbow remains serious and would keep most players out of the remainder of the playoffs.  But Boston head coach Doc Rivers believes his starting point guard will be in the lineup when Game 4 tips off.  Whether or not he will be effective again playing with essentially only one good arm remains to be seen, as Miami will try to take advantage of him.

Another injury compounding the problem for the Celtics (Pick’em) is Delonte West’s bruised left shoulder.  West usually spells Rondo, but he was at least feeling much better at practice on Sunday.  Center Shaquille O’Neal returned to action for the first time in the playoffs on Saturday after sitting out with a calf injury, but he was not very effective with just two points and no rebounds in a little under nine minutes.

Fortunately for Boston, Garnett and Paul Pierce were able to carry the team offensively.  Pierce has been bothered by an Achilles’ strain but totaled 27 points, five rebounds and five assists.  Ray Allen also chipped in 15 points while West added 11 off bench.  Rondo finished with six points, 11 assists and five turnovers in 35:19 on the court.

Only three Heat players played more than Rondo, and Joel Anthony might have been the most effective as a reserve with 12 points and a team-high 11 rebounds.  LeBron James and Dwyade Wade each played 40+ minutes and combined for 38 points but made just 14 of 35 shots between them, going 1 of 8 from behind the 3-point arc.  Chris Bosh was a non-factor with just six points on 1 of 6 shooting and five rebounds.

Miami had a major mismatch at point guard heading into the series but might able to turn that negative to a positive with Rondo hurting.  Mike Bibby has totaled just 11 points in the series as the team’s starter while Mario Chalmers stepped up in Game 3 with 17 points after scoring five in the first two games combined.  Chalmers has played more in two of the three games despite coming off the bench and could continue to get more minutes in an effort to exploit Rondo.

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