Game 5 NBA Playoff Picks: Heat looking to knock out Celtics

2011 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs
Second Round – Game 5
Boston Celtics at Miami Heat, American Airlines Arena
Wednesday, May 11, 2011, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Opening Line: Heat -6
Current Line: Heat -7
Opening Total: 181.5
Current Total: 181
Money Line: Heat -340 / Celtics +280

Heat Celtics NBA Playoffs Game Preview
The Miami Heat have their sights set on the Eastern Conference Finals and need just one more win.

The Miami Heat (65-26) are proving to be nearly unbeatable when their Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh do most of the damage.  The trio combined to score 83 points in a 98-90 overtime win over the Boston Celtics (61-29) in Game 4 on Monday for a 3-1 series lead and can now close out the series in Game 5 back at home on Wednesday.

The Heat (-7) are 30-3 this season when James, Wade and Bosh score 75 or more, and each of them played a key role in ending a streak of 11 straight losses in Boston.  They had put together their worst joint performance in losing 97-81 in Game 3 with just 44 points between them, including only six from Bosh on 1 of 6 shooting.

Bosh got off to another slow start against the Celtics but finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds while Wade scored 28 and James had a game-high 35 points and 14 boards.  They scored all of the team’s points in overtime with Bosh and Wade each totaling five after James made the first basket.

Boston point guard Rajon Rondo gave a valiant effort by playing with a dislocated elbow he suffered in Game 3, but was a shell of himself and ended up with 10 points, five assists and three turnovers in a little over 38 minutes of action.  Rondo had given the Celts a spark when he returned in Game 3, but the adrenaline he was playing on was difficult to carry over since he remained in a lot of pain.

Another big disappointment for Boston was the play of Kevin Garnett, who dominated Game 3 with a game-high 28 points and 18 rebounds.  Garnett did not get to the free-throw line in the first two games and scored five of his seven points there in Game 4 while his other two points came on his lone made field goal on 10 attempts from the floor.  He did grab 10 boards but also had five fouls.

Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 27 points, but he made just 1 of 6 shots from 3-point range and missed the potential game-winning jumper at the end of regulation.  Pierce scored 19 of his points in the first half en route to a 53-50 halftime lead, but the team struggled offensively after the intermission, especially in the fourth quarter when Miami outscored Boston, 17-13.

The Heat are 4-1 straight-up and against the spread in the last five meetings with the Celtics since losing the first three regular-season games between the teams.  The OVER is 3-1 in the past three meetings and 4-1 in Miami’s last five games overall.

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