The Boston Celtics are four wins away from their first NBA Finals appearance since 2010, but they’ll have to get through the No. 1 seed Miami Heat in the 2022 Eastern Conference finals.
Grant Williams emerged as the hero of Boston’s Game 7 win over the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday. The Heat have been resting since Thursday when they closed out the Philadelphia 76ers in six games. The Heat posted the best record in the East in the regular season and finished two games ahead of the No. 2 Celtics in the standings. Boston won the regular-season series 2-1; both victories over Miami were blowouts.
How will the Celtics-Heat series play out? Here are our predictions for seven series prop bets ahead of Game 1 on Tuesday.
Jayson Tatum vs. Jimmy Butler: Who will average more points per game in the series?
For Miami, the answer sort of has to be Jimmy Butler. Against Atlanta, Butler averaged 30.5 points per game, and the Heat will probably need a similar performance from their star wing. Tatum may in fact end up with higher scoring averages, but the Celtics have options if JT is less than stellar. For the Heat, it’s hard to see how they win the series if Butler isn’t playing like a superstar.
Marcus Smart vs. Kyle Lowry: Who will have more combined points and assists per game in the series?
When healthy, I’m taking Kyle Lowry. He may have lost a step, but he gives the Heat offense much more structure. Likewise, he offers some needed scoring pop, especially from deep. At full tilt, Lowry is the more polished offensive weapon here. Unfortunately, health may be a key concern. Yes, Smart is hurting. But we may not see Lowry for a while, if at all.
Over/Under: Points per game for Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined
I wouldn’t be surprised if this number is rather low. In any given game, either Tatum or Brown could go for 30 or more. But Miami’s defense, especially its zone defense, might be too stingy for Boston’s stars to both have a night. Instead, I imagine players such as Al Horford or Grant Williams will have big games as Boston looks to beat the Heat D with extra passes.
Celtics vs. Heat: Who will lead the series in assists per game?
Heading into the series, Boston has averaged slightly more assists per game than Miami. This, in part, is because of the size and length of Milwaukee — the Celtics needed to pass the ball in order to survive.
The Heat pose a similar challenge. For that reason, I think the Celtics will look to really move the ball from the jump.
Celtics vs. Heat: Who will lead the series in points per game?
Like I said, the Heat need the answer here to be Jimmy Butler. But realistically I’m taking Jayson Tatum. Whether or not he’s taking a superstar leap right in front of our eyes, he is the most gifted offensive player in the series. Unless Miami specifically emphatically tries to stop Tatum with traps and double-teams, I expect him to be the highest scoring player for either side.
How many games will the series last?
This series will last six games. The first few games in Miami feel almost like scheduled losses for the Celtics. Unless Robert Williams is about to give Boston fresh legs, the Heat have an upper-hand here. Over time, though, the better team will prevail, and that appears to be Boston.
What will the 2022 NBA Finals matchup be?
We’re going to see the Golden State Warriors return to the NBA Finals to take on the Boston Celtics. It’s going to be a whopper of a series, and one that will featured gutsy shooting and pugnacious defense.
This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook!
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