The Warriors closed out the Mavericks in five games on Friday, but the Eastern Conference Finals battle between Miami and Boston is still well and truly alive. Catch our best bets for Saturday’s Game 6 of the ECF right here!
Also, be sure to check out our NBA Tips page regularly to find our best bets for each playoff series, as well as our best plays for every game of the upcoming NBA Finals!
Saturday 10:30am AEST, TD Garden
The Heat couldn’t take advantage of home court in Game 5 as they crucially lost 80-93 to fall behind 2-3 in the series. They led by five points at half time and looked to be in control, but were absolutely blown off the court in the third quarter with the Celtics piling on 36 points to the Heat’s 16. That win by the Celtics was the first time in this series that either team has managed to win back-to-back games.
Marcus Smart was able to suit up in Game 5 after missing Game 4 due to injury, although he was on limited minutes and didn’t perform at his usual standard. Luckily, that didn’t matter because back-up guard Derrick White was fantastic with 14 points and five assists. For the Heat, Bam Adebayo top-scored with 18 points and most of them came in garbage time in the fourth quarter. Jimmy Butler was far from his best once again with just 13 points and four assists, which is a big reason why they came up short.
While both teams have some key players clearly battling with injuries and playing at less than 100%, neither team is expected to be without any of their key operators in Game 6. It’s likely that Marcus Smart’s minutes increase back to something close to normal, meaning Derrick White’s minutes should come right back down.
This has been a rollercoaster of a series to date with nearly all games being one-sided. However, the Celtics have been the better team over the last four games and are stiff to have not won all of them. Their defence is just on another level at the moment and as long as they bring their usual intensity, then I can see the Heat struggling to put points on the board once again.
Jayson Tatum has been the best player in this series with averages of 24/8/6. I’ve been impressed with his rebounding of the basketball, particularly in the Celtics last two wins where he’s averaged 10. I expect him to continue to get on the glass and at least collect seven boards here.
Veteran big-man Al Horford has stepped up in a big way in the playoffs, both in his minutes played and overall impact. He’s always been a great passer at the 5-spot and he’s shown flashes of that in this series. He averaged 3.4 assists during the regular season and has had at least three dimes in each of his last 11 playoff games. He’s good value in the assists markets again.
Jaylen Brown has been the perfect Robin to Tatum’s Batman in this series and has scored the most points of any player from either team through five games. He erupted for a 40-piece in Game 3, but has also scored 24+ points in three of the other four games to date. I like his chances for 25+ on Saturday.
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