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2011 NBA Playoff Odds: Celtics vs. Heat Preview | Pick

EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF Predictions: Celtics vs Heat Series Preview

Before nba betting fans turn their attention to NBA Playoff basketball betting events this week, we have some more good NBA first round series Previews on tap, and our man Lawrence weighs in with his picks for the series. It’s time for our weekly hoops picks for NBA gambling action.

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#3 BOSTON vs. #2 MIAMI PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
Game 1 – Sun May 1, Boston at Miami, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/R
Game 2 – Tue May 3, Boston at Miami, TBD, TNT
Game 3 – Sat May 7, Miami at Boston, 8:00 p.m. ET, ABC
Game 4 – Mon May 9, Miami at Boston, TBD, TNT
Game 5 Wed May 11, Boston at Miami, TBD, TNT (if necessary)
Game 6 Fri May 13, Miami at Boston, TBD, ESPN (if necessary)
Game 7 Mon May 16, Boston at Miami, 8:00 p.m. ET, TNT (if necessary)
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Odds to win Series
Miami -180
Boston +155

Odds to win Eastern Conference
Miami 6/5
Boston 3/1

Odds to win NBA title
Miami 11/4
Boston 11/2

Injuries of Note: Boston: Shaquille O’Neal – C – Out Indefinitely (calf injury)

Miami: Udonis Haslem – F – Out Indefinitely (foot injury)
Mike Miller – F – Day-to-Day (sore thumb)

It’s come down to this for the Miami Heat. Two years of shedding salaries to be able to afford LeBron James, The Decision, the ridicule, the scorn, the attitude, playing games knowing that most everyone who cares even a centimeter about the NBA wants you to lose.

If the Miami Heat can beat the Boston Celtics, get to the Eastern Conference finals and make a run at The Finals, it will be all worth it. Fall short and the finger-pointing continues unabated for another 12 months. The best team that money (and climate) can buy will be laughed at and ridiculed all summer, winter and into next spring.

That said, this series sets up rather well for the Heat. They are young and healthy, which is what the Celtics are not right now. Boston’s advantage at the center spot, Shaquille O’Neal, may not play – and if he does, no one has a clue how effective he’ll be and for how long. And Miami appears to have slain whatever Celtics demons were floating around when the Heat pounded the Celtics late in the season in what was in essence a battle to see which team would have home-court edge for their inevitable Eastern Conference semifinal matchup.

For the second consecutive year the Celtics are in the playoffs after basically coasting down the stretch, preferring to take a steady stream of losses rather than burn out their starters. And if the sweep of the Knicks was a bit unsteady (New York was a couple of made jumpers away from beating the Celtics twice in Boston), well, that’s the way the Celtics roll – preserve energy at all costs, keeping powder dry for the when the games really really count.

Boston beat the Heat three times this season as Miami was struggling to figure things out, and the Celtics have probably already forgotten the 23-point beatdown the Heat gave them in Game 80 of 82. But if the Celtics have shown one thing over the course of the playoffs since Pierce, Garnett and Allen were tethered together a few years ago, it’s that they can circle the wagons, focus on winning a series, and then go out and do it.

A big plus for Boston is the fact that Rajon Rondo appears to have emerged from whatever funk he was in during the latter stages of the regular season. When Rondo is on his game, the Heat – who are stuck with Mario Chalmers and the lost-in-space Mike Bibby at the 1 – have serious problems.

The pick: Lets’ get it out in the open: Are the Heat chokers? Is LeBron James just a schoolyard bully who scores at will against lousy teams and can’t swallow when the game in on the line? The Heat’s problems in the closing minutes of tight games against good teams are well-documented, and it figures that if this series goes the limit, then four or five games might be decided in the final minute. Whether James or Dwyane Wade gets the ball in the final minute of a close game against Boston’s voracious defense will be fascinating theater.

BOSTON IN 7.

Lawrence Paul is a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog, and is a free-lance gambling expert from Massachusetts.

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About Lawrence Paul

Lawrence Paul is back in the saddle as a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog. He's got an AMAZING knack for predicting when a team will have a letdown! Stick with our resident gambling experts sports betting tips all season long!


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