After three straight wins at home, the Celtics head out on the road where they spilt four games on its last road trip. That makes for five straight victories against mid-level teams over the last 7 games. All season long, the Celtics have had a lot of contributors, but no one has really stepped up to an elite level. G Kyrie Irving leads the team in scoring (17.9 PPG) and assists (6.6 APG) but seems to lack that scoring punch he has shown in recent years. It’s also a little troubling to see high-priced free agent Gordon Hayward struggling, scoring at a rate of 11.2 PPG, well below the offensive prowess he showed two years ago with the Utah Jazz. Despite having no offensive leadership, the Celtics do rank 10th in the league in scoring at 110 PPG.
After a horrible start to the season, the Miami Heat have won 11 of its last 18 games to move close to .500 on the season. Consistency and injuries have plagued the Heat all year long. Makes sense. Second leading scorer and PG Goran Dragic remains sidelined with an injury, which continues to cause problems for an offense that sometimes loses its rhythm. Josh Richardson currently leads the team in scoring with 18.1 PPG while Hassan Whiteside is carrying the rebounding burden at 12.6 RPG. The Heat play at a good pace, but poor shooting (43.8% 28th in the league) leaves the team in the bottom five in scoring at 106 PPG.
Prediction: This will be the second game of a back-to- back for the Celtics who played in Indiana last night. The Celtics defense has only given up 97 PPG over the team’s last 3 games against some pretty high scoring basketball teams. With the Heat scoring only 91 PPG in its last 2 games, the Celtics figure to have an easy time controlling the pace of the game and covering a tiny spread. Pick Boston -1 (score – Boston 107-98)