There is no big surprise about the fact that the Miami Heat’s offensive attack runs right through Jimmy Butler. This is no mystery to opponents, who know that if they can slow down Miami’s great All-Star player, they have a leg up on victory. And it’s no shock to BetOnline customers, either.
And if Butler is having a poor shooting night, other players on the Heat have to make up for it. What’s amazing is that it almost worked out for them in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals, in which they were one-tenth of one second away from coming out with a victory after fighting back from double-digit deficits almost the entire way.
And if that had happened, the hero would have been Butler, who shot only 5-of-21 from the field but made all three free throws when he was fouled trying to heave up a three-pointer with 2.1 seconds remaining.
The officials did a review of the play and brought the clock to three seconds; as it turns out, that made the difference in Derrick White being able to tip in a rebound of a Marcus Smart miss (and it helps that Max Strus apparently never learned how to block out), which gave the Celtics a third straight victory and a chance to make history.
No NBA team has ever come back from an 0-3 deficit in a playoff series; those teams are 0-150 in their quest. To get to a seventh game, Boston joined only three other 0-3 teams in the NBA annals.
The Celtics are one of the NBA’s elite defensive teams with great popularity at most of the NBA betting sites; they have the former defensive player of the year in the backcourt (Smart), along with a guy in White who made All-Defensive second team this season. We already know that with Robert Williams and Al Horford in the middle, they have premier defenders. So they are set up all around to stop people.
In Game 6, they absolutely shut things down in the lane. Miami shot just 30% on its two-point attempts. The Heat’s shooting percentage in the paint, which was below 25%, was the lowest it has ever been with Erik Spoelstra as head coach.
This fortress not only made it near-impossible for Butler to penetrate, but it also severely hampered Bam Adebayo, who would be the second option behind Butler. Bam had just four field goals in 16 attempts in the game. If it wasn’t for the fact that Miami could get some three-point shooting and only five turnovers, Boston may have run and hid.
So here are the NBA playoff odds on Game 7, established by our friends at BetOnline:
Boston Celtics -7.5
Miami Heat +7.5
Over 204 Points -113
Under 204 Points -107
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The offensive options beyond Butler and Adebayo have been largely inconsistent. And their choices are further limited by the injury to Tyler Herro. Remember, they have been doing this all without Herro, last year’s top NBA Sixth Man, who became a starter this season. But they have been able to get some production out of their undrafted players – people like guard Gabe Vincent and forward Caleb Martin, who have shot 50% and 46% from three-point territory, respectively, in this series.
But there were sufficient numbers of people who looked at the apparent overall talent difference between these teams and wondered when it would catch up to Miami. That might be happening now.
Still, the Heat will address the inability to get good shots. They have to. If they can’t, they’re toast. They were advantaged by having a Celtics team in front of them that had just 20% from beyond the arc in Game 6. That’s seven out of 35.
So Miami had little success offensively from its key people. Boston got some triples from Smarty and White, but the rest of their guys were 0-for-17. That’s right. Jayson Tatum missed all eight of his shots from downtown. So all this happened, and the total was 107 points.
These are capable offensive teams, and even in games with great defense, we’ve gone over this particular number. So we’re OVER in Game 7.
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