Great players don’t stay down for long, and after a disappearing act from stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown in the first two games of the Eastern Conference finals, especially in the fourth quarter, the Boston Celtics need their leading scorers to step up. When the teams met in last year’s conference final the Celtics won three games on the home floor of the Miami Heat and they need a victory on Tuesday in Game 4 of the series. Stopping Jimmy Butler is a key to having success and something Boston didn’t do in the first two games. Buckets went for 35 in the opener and followed with 27 in Game 2. After struggling at home in the first two games of the series the Celtics are hopeful their prowess as a road team gets them back in the series. Facing elimination against the Sixers in the previous round, Boston claimed a 95-86 win in Game 6 and won the series at home in Game 7. They are 4-2 SU and ATS as the away team this postseason.
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NBA Playoffs Schedule for Tuesday, May 23
Eastern Conference Finals – Game 4
Miami at Boston, 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
NBA Playoffs Picks for Tuesday, May 23, 2023
It’s safe to say if the Celtics want to win the series they need more from their big guns. Jayson Tatum had nice stat lines in the first two games posting 30 points with seven boards in the opener followed by 34 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists in Game 2. He was just 3 of 10 from distance in the second tilt and failed to make a field goal in the fourth quarter of both games. Leading scorers Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined to make just four of 17 three-pointers in Game 2.
Boston got rattled blowing leads, missing shots and committing turnovers at the most inopportune times. It’s something we didn’t see a lot of during the season and in the first two rounds of the playoffs. The good news for the Celtics is that they’ve had plenty of success on the road against the Heat. They are 6-2 SU and ATS in their last eight trips and won three times in last year’s East final, including the decisive Game 7. It’s a bad time for Boston collectively to start slumping, but they played solid basketball in the first three quarters of the first two games.
Playing on the road hasn’t hampered Boston so far this postseason, but they didn’t lose the first two games in their previous series. According to Tatum the club had no other choice but to come together and win on the road. “It was either win or the season’s over with. So, kind of back against the wall, gotta figure it out, and for the most part we’ve done that.”
With a point total for Game 4 hovering around 30 Tatum is a good bet to hit the over in a same-game parlay. He tallied 30 and 34 in the first two games after dropping 51 on the Sixers in Game 7 of the previous series. And I expect he’ll have an impact in the fourth quarter with the team’s season in the balance. If you’re going to go down you better have your top players manning the ship.
Butler has been doing it all this postseason averaging 31.1 points 6.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists after a masterful Game 2. He’s gotten plenty of help from his mates making the Heat a tough team to deal with. Even you shut down Butler others rise to the occasion. Bam Adebayo nearly had a triple-double in Game 2 with 22 points, 17 rebounds and nine assists while Caleb Martin scored 25 points on 11 of 16 shooting.
Miami was last in the NBA in scoring during the regular season averaging 109.5 points, but they upped that number to nearly 114 in the postseason cashing the OVER in 10 of 13 games, including the first two of this series. Miami is playing with a lot of confidence, but the Celtics have risen to the occasion when needed giving me the confidence to back them in this matchup.
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