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NBA Picks: May 27

By Michael Harty

One of the most successful sports cities of the 2000s will get a chance to pad its resume Friday night as the Celtics look to finish off the Miami Heat in Game 6 and head to the NBA Finals. Miami limps into TD Garden after having lost the past two games in a rather convincing fashion. After losing by 13 and 20 points, coach Erik Spoelstra will have to figure something out and figure it out quickly in order to prolong this series. Injuries have been a key storyline to follow in this series as both teams are just incredibly banged up. Determining who is available and who is likely to miss time has been a nightmare, so be sure to be active on Twitter prior to tip-off in order to catch any major injury news. Key names such as; Marcus Smart, Robert Williams, Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, Max Struss, and Kyle Lowry will all most likely find their names on the pregame injury report. 

In Game 4 Miami got a laughable 18 points out of all their starters. Game 5 wasn’t much prettier as Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry clearly looked hobbled. Lowry who finished with 0 points, 1 rebound and 0 assists simply has to be better for the Heat to have any chance. Miami, who shot 0/23 on open 3 point attempts in Game 5 will most likely have to make a shot at some point in this to prolong the series. When your starting backcourt of Lowry and Struss combined for 0/15 shooting you can’t expect to win very many games. With Tyler Herro likely unavailable again for Game 6, Miami will need someone to step up in the scoring department. Spoelstra may have to look at limiting Lowry's minutes in favour of Vincent or even Oladipo who have been much more efficient on both ends of the floor in this series. 

The Celtics have a pretty simple formula for success, when they take care of the basketball, they win games. Outside of the outrageous 20-plus turnover game in Game 3, Boston has dominated this series. The Celtics, who own the best Net Rating of the entire playoffs by a noticeable gap were fully healthy to start Game 5 for the first time this series. The lineup of Williams, Horford, Smart, Tatum and Brown was very effective as they all finished with a positive net rating. Jaylen Brown cleaned up his turnover woes and responded with a monster second half to put the game out of reach. Derrick White was the first guy off the bench for Udoka’s squad, as Smart battled with a bit of foul trouble early on. White, who had 16 potential assists in his start in Game 4, followed up with another strong performance. If Smart is active, which we expect him to be, I’d look to take White player props as he has shown he is the most consistent option on both ends of the floor for the Celtics. Last game his Assists line was set at 1.5 and his Points + Assists combo was 6.5, if those lines are released again those would be a must-play for me given the role and confidence Udoka seems to have in him.

Given how banged up Miami is, I just don't see a clear path for them to win on the road. The Celtics are a heavy 8.5-point favourite in this game and rightfully so. While I don’t enjoy laying a big number like that, I do think Boston rolls pretty comfortably here. For my pick, I'll be fading one of the many banged-up Heat players. P.J Tucker, whose role has been a bit different given Miami’s injury woes, has been forced into playing a bit of backup center. Spoelstra has elected to cut Dwayne Dedmon from the rotation and Tucker’s versatility has been used as a center replacement when Adebayo is off the court. Even when both are on the court, as mentioned earlier, Miami is just not shooting the ball at an effective clip. Robert Williams's length has been a huge issue and will continue to be on all perimeter shooting. Given the adjusted role, as well as having very little confidence in Miami making a shot from 3-point land, we will be taking the under on P.J Tucker’s 3-point makes Friday night.

RECOMMENDED WAGER: P.J Tucker UNDER 0.5 3PT Makes (+200) at bet365

Other wagers to look at:

  • Celtics 1H -5 (-110) at bet365

Boston comes out early and makes a statement, these games have all had a team lead by 5 or more points at halftime.

One of betstamp’s largest brand values is transparency. Whether you are looking to tail or fade my picks, or potentially just like reading the breakdowns, you can find my full documented betting record here. Best of luck with your bets today.

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