For the first time in this series, the Boston Celtics looked like the team we were used to seeing in the regular season after they destroyed the Miami Heat in the second half of game four of the Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs. They were able to put together a great game wire-to-wire and unlike the other games in this series, they didn’t fade in the second half of the game. As the series shifts back to Boston for game five, the Celtics will need to continue making the Heat uncomfortable when shooting the basketball. The Celtics blocked eight shots last game and Miami couldn’t hit shots as efficiently from long-range. The Heat also lost another guard to injury as Gabe Vincent will sit out for game five with a sprained ankle which stinks for their offense because he shot 50 percent from the field or better in all but 1 game in this series. We’ll have to see what Miami decides to do when it comes to their starting lineup, but Kyle Lowry could end up taking his spot. Caleb Martin has been superb offensively and he may shift into the starting rotation and Jimmy Butler could spend more time running the point. Boston is also dealing with an injury at the guard position as well with Malcolm Brogdon playing through an elbow injury and he hasn’t hit the 20-minute mark in both of his last 2 contests. Boston is favored by eight points in game 5 and the total is 215 sportsbooks. Here are tonight’s prioritized DFS NBA plays for the NBA Playoffs.
Celtics vs Heat Game 5 Injury Report
Miami Heat Injuries:
Boston Celtics Injuries:
NBA DFS Picks Celtics vs Heat Game 5
If you think the Celtics are going to win tonight’s game, Tatum has to be your CPT/MVP because his gameplay will determine if the Celtics extend the series, and after seeing him notch his third straight double-double, we can rely on him for consistent multi-category production. He’s scored 30 points or more in all but 1 game in this series shooting at least 50 percent from the field in all 3 of those battles. Tatum will take 20-25 shots and we finally saw him get it going from downtown. He had been ice-cold shooting trey’s. It was also good seeing him facilitate a bit more successfully despite turning the ball over five times. He contributed seven dimes or more for the second time in his last three games. Tatum has also posted three swipes combined over his last two contests. Tatum was making better decisions with the ball and he was having his way at the elbow and couldn’t be stopped. He’ll play 40-45 minutes this evening. He sports a 30 percent usage rate and if he plays like he did in game 3, Boston is staying home and Miami is moving on to face the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Finals. Tatum is coming off his best shooting performance of the series and is worth every penny of his top-priced DFS salary.
Butler has been a four-category producer and with the sharp-shooting Vincent sidelined, Butler will have to bring up the ball more and that could boost his assist potential. He’s dropped no fewer than five dimes in any game this series and we should expect him in the six-to-seven range. Butler will play 40-plus minutes and he’s been majorly impactful on both sides of the ball. On offense, he’s shot 45 percent from the floor and scored 27-plus points in 3 of 4 games this series. On defense, Butler has pulled down eight boards or more in each of his last three games and he has logged 12 steals against Boston in the conference finals. The Celtics haven’t had an answer for Butler once he gets to the top of the paint. He’s able to find openings and he’s very patient with the ball to try and set up other teammates. If the Heat are smart, they’ll operate a two-man game between Butler and Bam Adebayo with Butler feeding Adebayo on the low block more. The paint should be more open with the Celtics expected to prioritize the elbow and arc on defense. Butler will be able to draw more defenders further away from the paint if he plays on the ball more and Adebayo and other cutters will have plenty of room to move around the interior.
It just doesn’t make sense why the Heat haven’t featured Adebayo as much in the post, but that should change tonight, especially with Vincent out because the Heat will have to find new ways to score to keep up with Boston’s offense and when Adebayo is given double-digit shots, he hits the 20-point mark. Miami should come out immediately and feature Adebayo in the post again and again and again until he’s turned away by Boston’s defense. Robert Williams continues to come off the bench and Adebayo should be able to once again take advantage of Boston’s post defense and lack of size. Miami shouldn’t focus as much on hitting three-pointers if they can get a ton of offense in the post. Adebayo hasn’t been as strong on the glass as well, but he has had success in the series. He grabbed 17 rebounds in game 2 of this series and we should expect him to pull down seven to 11 boards tonight thinking he’ll be featured more on offense and he’ll keep plays alive being deep in the post. Adebayo has also posted a swipe in six of his last seven games. He'll play 35-40 minutes in game 5.
Seeing Smart take 11 shots, the most he has all series, was very encouraging and Smart hit 3 three-pointers in Boston’s game 4 win. Smart will once again play 35 minutes and his defense will be needed tonight to keep the Heat moving and not set on the perimeter. The key is giving Miami lower-percentage shots from downtown. He’s scored in double figures in two of four games in the conference finals and he dropped at least six dimes in three of the battles. Smart will need to attack the rim a bit more and we saw him get to the basket uncontested a decent amount earlier in the series and if he screens out Jaylen Brown at the perimeter, he should dart to the basket if Adebayo is out of position. Smart has two multi-steal games in this series as well and he’s grabbed a total of 17 rebounds in 4 matchups against Miami. Smart will continue to spend a lot of time running the offense and as long as he’s getting shots, we should expect a good return on our DFS investment. We don’t want Smart to start chucking up shots randomly, but there are ways he’s been able to set himself up for an open shot from long-range and he's successfully driven the lane in this series as outlined before.
Martin has been shooting the ball excellently from the field as he’s shot over 63 percent from the floor in 3 straight games and with Vincent out, he’s bound to get more shot opportunities and he should be in the 15-shot range this evening. He’s hit 46 percent of his three-pointers against Boston in the conference finals. Martin has scored at least 15 points in every game this series and he’s been helpful on the glass pulling down 4 boards and blocking a shot in 3 of 4 games this series. Martin has also stolen the ball four times and he’s been a key player for Miami on both sides of the ball. He can use his agility to fight through screens and stay in front of his defensive assignment. Martin will play 35-40 minutes and we’ll have to see if the Heat feel that Vincent’s absence takes them down a peg offensively and Martin starting would help fill the void. Martin could find himself ball-distributing a bit more to help Lowry out tonight. It doesn’t matter if he starts or continues to come off the bench, Martin is locked into a big role on this team for the rest of the postseason.
We don’t know who’s starting yet, but Lowry will get more time to run the point tonight. He will play more exclusively on the ball and he’s done a good job of keeping plays alive and he is able to take the ball back out to the arc to reset if his trips to the paint are blocked off and can’t find an open cutter. Lowry is very methodical when he gets inside the arc and he’ll dribble back out and take the shot from the top of the key. He hasn’t looked fatigued on the court which is impressive because he looked fatigued for most of the season. Lowry should take around 10 shots tonight and we should expect him to dish more assists. He’s been very helpful on the glass pulling down 13 rebounds over his last 2 outings. Lowry has also stolen the ball in each of his last seven games. Lowry’s shooting has been up and down, but his assist potential tonight should boost his overall DFS scoring ceiling. Lowry should play 30-35 minutes tonight with Vincent joining Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo on the sidelines. Lowry averages almost a fantasy point per minute with the active Heat players heading into tonight’s game.
Strus should find himself seeing an uptick in shots with Vincent sitting and he may need to bring the ball up more as well as the Heat are running out of healthy guards. Strus should take seven to 12 shots tonight and we saw him play a series high (for himself) 36 minutes and there’s no reason he shouldn’t hit the 30-minute mark once again. It was encouraging seeing Strus grab more rebounds last game because he’s been mainly scoring-dependent lately. He pulled down seven boards last time out and he has the ability to fight more for long rebounds when the shot goes up and we saw him have a couple of six-rebound games last series. If he wasn’t getting as many minutes and one of the other guards that are out was playing, Strus wouldn’t be up for consideration for DFS tonight. He’s scored in double figures in eight of his last nine games and he’s shot over 47 percent from the floor in this series.
Brogdon’s ongoing elbow issues could put the ball in White’s hands more and we’ve seen him play more and more as the series has gone on and we should see him log 26-30 minutes tonight and should continue to start. White has been key on defense as he’s one of the best shot-blockers in the league among the rest of the guards and he’s posted three straight multi-block games in this series. White often chases down opposing guards and blocks them from behind at the perimeter and even though White is known more for his offense, his defense at the elbow and on the perimeter should keep him in the game for longer. White is coming off a 16-point game and he’s taken 9 shots or more in both of his last 2 contests. White has scored 11 or more points in 3 of 4 games in this series and he’ll shoot a lot from downtown, and the Celtics will certainly need him firing effectively from deep if they aren’t going to design as many plays inside under the basket. White has also logged four steals in this series.
The intangibles will keep Williams on the floor more as Boston tries to keep the Heat's offense from re-igniting on the court. He’s taken seven shots in both of his last two games and shot over 57 percent in both and he’s scored 26 points collectively. Williams was more active on the glass last game and he did a great job of playing up on the Heat wings and forcing them to either pass off or shoot with a constant hand in their face. Williams role hasn’t been as big as it was in the past, but he was a big help on defense in game four and he’s swatted away shots in two of his last three contests. He should play around 30 minutes once again and with the way he’s been shooting, especially coming off a game in which he hit four three-pointers in, he could see more shot opportunities as the series continues. Williams played 29 minutes in both of his last 2 games. His impact doesn’t always show up on the stat sheet, but with Brogdon hurting, Boston will need more secondary scoring.
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