MIAMI HEAT (50-14)
at BOSTON CELTICS (36-29)
Tip-off: Monday, 8:05 p.m. ET
Line: Miami -5, Total: 189
The Heat will be going for their 23rd straight victory when they travel to Boston on Monday to take on the Celtics.
Miami earned its 22nd straight victory when they defeated the Raptors 108-91 on Sunday, but now they shift their gears towards their Eastern Conference foe. The Celtics have won their past two games and want nothing more than to end Miami’s winning streak. In the game the Celtics played against Miami on Jan. 27, Boston was without star PG Rajon Rondo for what they’d find out to be the first game for the rest of the season. The C's won that game 100-98, and is 8-2 ATS versus Miami in games played in Boston over the past three seasons. However, All-Star PF Kevin Garnett is questionable for this game with a groin injury, but Miami All-Star SG Dwyane Wade is in the same boat with a neck injury he suffered on Sunday.
Can the Celtics finally put a halt to Miami's near-record win streak? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. StatFox Gary is 68% ATS (23-11) since Feb. 20, StatFox Brian is 68% ATS (19-9) since Feb. 28, and StatFox Scott is 54.4% ATS (37-31) since Feb. 3. The experts are a collective 55.1% ATS (145-118) since February began, and Scott is now 54% ATS (107-92-1) for the season, while Gary is 53.4% ATS (86-75-4) and Brian is 52.4% ATS (108-98-3). For NBA Totals, Gary is a stellar 85% (11-2) since March 7, Brian is 83% (5-1) in his past five days, and Scott is 61% (14-9-2) since Feb. 22 to raise his season record to 56.3% (90-70-2) in Totals.
The Heat haven't lost since Feb. 1, scoring 105.5 PPG on 51.1% FG and 38.9% threes during the 22-game run. Miami had little trouble extending the streak on Sunday as the big three performed tremendously. SF LeBron James was brilliant for the Heat, finishing with 22 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. James had been struggling from the field in the two previous games (11-30 FG), so it’s a good thing for Miami to have its star performing at his best again. PF Chris Bosh has also started to come on for the Heat over the past two games, averaging 23.0 PPG in those contests including a 7-of-10 performance from the field against Toronto in which he hit two threes. SG Dwyane Wade, who has been on a tear over the last few months, had yet another great game with 24 points and nine assists for the Heat. It shouldn’t go unnoticed, however, that SG Ray Allen was doing his job to perfection on Sunday. Allen was 7-for-10 from the field with 20 points for Miami in just 25 minutes of playing time.
The Celtics have won their past two games with the most recent being at home Saturday against the Bobcats. In that game, SF Paul Pierce played the role of distributor for Boston with eight assists. He also was able to score 14 points, block three shots and grab six rebounds. PF Jeff Green continues to play well for Boston, finishing with a final stat line of 10 points, five rebounds and four assists in just 31 minutes on Saturday. Green is averaging 12.8 PPG and 3.6 RPG in 31.2 MPG for Boston over the past five games. He’s a very versatile player who helps the Celtics in a number of ways. The biggest game for the Celtics against Charlotte came from SG Jason Terry, who had 15 points, going 5-for-6 from the field and a perfect 3-for-3 from downtown. Boston has a toughness level that Miami normally fails to match when these teams meet up, and both Pierce and PF Kevin Garnett have tons of heart and always perform well in big games where they’re being counted out.