After the Miami Heat won the first game of the Eastern Conference finals, the Boston Celtics were able to bounce back in Game 2 in order to even the series up 1-1. Now, the teams will break that tie in Game 3 in Boston on Saturday night. Will the Celtics build off the momentum they established in the second game, or will the Heat have their own answer?
The stars have showed up for their respective teams in a big way so far. Through two games, Jimmy Butler is averaging 35 points per performance against Boston, while Jayson Tatum has scored an average of 28 points per game against Miami's defense. Ultimately, the series could come down to which one of those guys is able to elevate their game the most.
It's safe to say that both teams will come out motivated and eager to claim the lead in the series on Saturday night. Here's everything you need to know about Game 3 between Miami and Boston.
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(1) Miami Heat vs. (2) Boston Celtics
- When: Saturday, May 21 | 8:30 p.m. ET
- Where: TD Garden -- Boston, Massachusetts
- TV: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
- Odds: MIA +220; BOS -270; O/U 207.5 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Heat: The Heat have to figure out a way to get Bam Adebayo going. In the first two games, he took just 10 total shots and scored 16 total points. That's not nearly enough. He was largely a non-factor in those games, and if Miami is going to win this series, he's going to have to be much more assertive. The Heat should come out and try and get Adebayo several opportunities early on in Game 3 so he gets his confidence going. They can do this by deliberately running plays for him at areas where he's comfortable going to work, like the elbow or on the low block. Adebayo averaged over 19 points per game during the regular season, and that's the type of production that the Heat will need.
Celtics: Despite the fact that Boston was able to pull out the win in Game 2, the Heat still outscored the Celtics by 12 points in the paint over the course of the contest. This shouldn't be the case, as the Celtics are a bigger team than Miami, especially in the frontcourt. The Heat also snagged 12 offensive rebounds in the game. In Game 3, Boston has to make a concerted effort to limit Miami's paint production and its second-chance points. If the Celtics can do that, they'll put themselves in position to pull out a second straight win.
Boston has been the better team in seven of the eight quarters in the series so far. Had it not been for a disastrous third quarter in Game 1, the Celtics would likely be up 2-0 right now. Plus, they were missing Al Horford and Marcus Smart in their Game 1 loss. With both of those guys back now, the Celtics are just a deeper team than Miami, and they have more weapons on the offensive end. Pick: Celtics - 6.5