Celtics vs Heat: Game 2 predictions
Butler’s 41 points and a costly 3rd quarter turnaround saw the Celtics lose the home opener against the Heat. Can they learn from their mistakes to win Game 2?
The Celtics blew a 13-point lead after the third quarter of Game 1 against the Miami Heat. They lost the home opener to the Heat 118-107. We can credit Miami’s defense, who kept Boston from scoring for a whole seven minutes in the third quarter and forced 16 turnovers and had 12 block shots on the night.
Can Boston learn from their errors and win in Game 2?
The Celtics and Heat play Game 2 on Thursday in Miami. Now trailing 0-1, the Celtics will go into the next one dealing with a Covid-19 outbreak and more injury woes. Al Horford was out Game 1 with covid-19 and his absence was definitely noticed. On Wednesday, news came out that several members of the Celtics staff tested positive as well.
Fortunately for Boston, Marcus Smart has been upgraded to probable for Game 2 after missing Game 1 with a foot injury. That’s really good news for the Celtics since Smart is one of their most impactful players. If he’s at full capacity, he can make a huge difference for the team.
The Celtics played well apart from that fateful third quarter, staying consistent on offense in the first half, but they couldn’t keep that up in the third quarter, allowing 39 points to the Heat and only putting up 14 of their own. They didn’t have a lot of time between their Game 7 with the Bucks and Game 1 with the Heat, and the tiredness showed. This time, they will come into Game 2 way more aggressive. If they can manage that early in the second half, they will be able to keep the momentum up and hold off the Heat better this time around.
Will Jimmy Butler have another huge night?
Jimmy Butler’s 41-point game was the fifth time in his career with the Heat that he’s reached the 40-point mark in a playoff game. 17 of those 41 came in the game-changing third quarter.
“I don’t do this to score 40 points. I play the way that I play to win, by all means necessary,” said Butler. “It just so happens that I scored 40. But if I score 40 and we lose, I’m gonna be pissed off.”
The Celtics will surely be looking to stop Butler in Game 2. They tried to guard Butler one-on-one in Game 1 and that quickly proved useless. They are going to need to get thew ball away from Butler as much as possible with more defenders on him. The Celtics had the No. 1 ranked defense in the NBA at the end of the regular season. They’re perfectly capable.
Even if Butler doesn’t put up another 40 in Game 2, it’s bound to be a close game with Tyler Herro adding big points to the board as well. The Celtics defense has to be on their game.