NBA Playoff Predictions: Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat, Game 7 Preview

Boston Celtics at Miami Heat
Saturday, 6/9/12, 8:30 PM EST, TV:  ESPN
Opening Point Spread:  Miami -8
Current Betting Line:  Miami -8
Opening Total:  178.5
Current Total:  178
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Celtics Knicks NBA Game Preview
Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers will have to come up with a magical game plan to beat the Miami Heat on Saturday night

Boston was unable to close out the 2012 Eastern Conference final on Thursday night, suffering a 98-79 blowout loss as two-point home underdogs.  “This team has been about adversity all year long, so this is not going to be nothing new,” commented Celtics forward Paul Pierce after the defeat.  He is second on the team in averaging 18.8 points during the 2012 NBA playoffs, just behind center Kevin Garnett, who is scoring 19.5 points and grabbing 10.5 rebounds.  Boston is 5-9 ATS when revenging a home loss versus an opponent this year.

The Celtics will be playing their seventh Game 7 in the last five years, posting a 4-2 mark in the previous ones.  Pierce will need to up his production if the team plans to advance to the NBA Finals and take on the Oklahoma City Thunder, shooting just 33.6 percent from the field in this series, finishing with just nine points in Game 6.  It’s safe to say that point guard Rajon Rondo will have to play the game of his life in order to pull off the upset.

Miami was able to extend this best-of-seven series to a decisive game due to the play of forward LeBron James, who scored 45 points and grabbed 15 rebounds inside the TD Garden in Game 6.  “Well it was a matter of too much LeBron,” stated Celtics head coach Doc Rivers about the performance.  The 2012 NBA MVP is averaging a team-high 30.8 points, and has scored 20-plus points in 15 consecutive postseason games.  Miami is 10-7 ATS as a home favorite of 6.5 to 9 points, with the “over” going 13-4 in that situation.

The Heat will have a major edge on their side when the game tips off inside American Airlines Arena, as home teams are 88-22 when playing Game 7 at home in a best-of-seven series in the playoffs.  Miami guard Dwyane Wade figures to play a prominent role in the game plan due to his big-game experience, as he’ll look to get involved in the action early.  He has hit just 7 of 23 shots from the field during the first 12 minutes of games in the first six games of this series.

Bettors will likely back the Celtics due to their 13-3-1 ATS mark following a straight-up loss, while the Heat are 2-8 ATS in the last 10 meetings in this Eastern Conference series.

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