NBA Showdown Playbook May 21: Boston Celtics @ Miami Heat Game 3
Published: May 21, 2023
Updated: May 21, 2023
With the Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs shifting to Miami, the Celtics are in trouble now that they’re down two games and the Heat haven’t lost a playoff game at home yet this postseason. Boston is still favored on sportsbooks by three-and-a-half points on the road. Boston got outscored by 14 points in the fourth quarter of game two and the Celtics even shot better than the Heat last game and still lost. Both Jayson Tatum and Jimmy Butler have been dominant in this series. Bam Adebayo continues to crush the Celtics frontcourt in the paint on offense. Boston’s offensive production heavily rests on Tatum on Jaylen Brown who took 43 shots combined of the 79 shots Boston attempted last matchup. The game total for game three sits at 214.5. Here are tonight’s prioritized DFS NBA plays for the NBA Playoffs.
Boston Celtics Injuries
- Danilo Gallinari - OUT
Miami Heat Injuries
- Tyler Herro - OUT
- Victor Oladipo - OUT
NBA DFS MVP/Captain
Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat
What more can you ask for from Butler? He’s ultra-locked in on the court and he’s not only taken 25 shots in over 40 minutes of playing time in both games in this series, but he’s shot 48 percent from the field and scored a total of 62 points so far. Butler gets it. He doesn’t try to be fancy and make things harder for him and further test the waters on offense. He knows how to utilize his strengths and he’ll continue to crush Boston from the elbow and not prioritize the arc more. If he’s open from downtown, he’ll shoot, but the strongest part of his game is at the elbow and in the paint. He’s dropped at least six dimes in both of his last two contests. On the defensive end, Butler is coming off a game in which he pulled down eight boards and that’s the second time he’s hit that number in three games. He’s even stolen the ball nine times in two games. The Celtics continue making unnecessary cross-court passes and Butler often can extend and get a hand on the ball. Between his strong scoring and how there’s no way he doesn’t play 40 minutes outside of a blowout, he’s a safe option to start in the CPT/MVP spot. He didn’t even get to the free-throw line as much last game and he was still able to provide a strong return.
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
Tatum has been a very reliable shooter, but his outside game just hasn’t been strong. When he hoists up ten three-pointers and only hits three, it takes down the offense a little bit, but shot volume is key, and Tatum should take 20-23 shots tonight. He’s shot at least 50 percent from the floor in three straight games, and he’s done a better job of not forcing up lower-percentage shots and setting up his teammates more after producing eight assists last outing. Tatum will continue logging 40-45 minutes of playing time and he draws a lot of contact in the lane, and he gets to the free-throw line often. Tatum has pulled down 13 rebounds in two of his last three games. The less we see him at the arc on both sides of the ball, the more fruitful his production will be. Tatum is Boston’s prioritized scorer, and he produces enough in other areas to be worth the very high DFS price point. Tatum is having a lot of success working his way in the lane and the Heat haven’t been as strong at defending the post as they were last series and he’s found openings to get good positioning in the paint. If Boston is going to fight their way back into this series, Tatum is going to have to be very productive and he’s much more trustworthy to put in the CPT/MVP spot than Jaylen Brown.
Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat
After nearly posting a triple-double, Adebayo deserves CPT/MVP consideration once again because he has produced very well against Boston during the postseason and even during the regular season. He hit the 20-point mark in scoring in both games in this series and he’s taken at least 13 shots in two games against Boston. Adebayo hasn’t shot under 40 percent in his last nine matchups. Adebayo is also a reliable free-throw shooter and has missed foul shots in just one of his last four outings. He’s crushing Robert Williams and Al Horford in the post and the Heat will continue to feed him inside. They should keep feeding him from the start of the game until the Celtics prove that they can turn him away or make him pass off. We've seen Miami favor him early in previous battles in this series. Adebayo has dropped five-plus dimes in both games in this series and he’ll continue bringing up the ball a bit, but the Heat have realized that Adebayo provides another layer to their offense and they need him operating mainly out of the post. Adebayo has stolen the ball in four of his last five contests. After grabbing 17 rebounds in game two, let’s continue to roll with him for game three where he’ll likely play 36-40 minutes again tonight.
NBA DFS Utility Plays
Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics
Brown is coming off his worst shooting performance of the playoffs and he should still hit the 20-shot mark tonight. Everyone needs to be at their best tonight for Boston. The Heat are great at adjusting on defense and they’ll continue putting an extra defender on both Tatum and Brown whenever possible. Brown had been more helpful on the glass up until the last game and we should look for him to be more aggressive inside. Brown has dropped four dimes or more in two of his last four games. While Brown’s shooting from inside the arc has been effective, he hasn’t made his mark shooting from the outside. He’s hit two three-pointers in two games and he’s taken 13 long-range shots. He’ll play around 40 minutes once again, but he’s going to need to hit shots. If he didn’t take as many shots as he has in this series, he’d be a full fade, but if he doesn’t come through this game and come close to giving us a strong return, we won’t be able to use him next game in DFS. He hasn’t been grabbing steals and we saw him post fewer boards and assists than we’re used to, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt for one more game as Boston needs him to have one of the best games of his career to prevent themselves from going down three games in the series.
Caleb Martin, Miami Heat
The Heat have put a lot of trust in Martin as he can do more than Kevin Love on both sides of the ball. Love is mainly a big body who stretches the floor and we’ve seen Martin log 30 minutes or more in both games in this series and he has more mobility. He’s taken at least 11 shots in both and shot over 54 percent. Martin has hit multiple three-pointers in both games and we continue to see his role grow game-by-game. He’s taken seven three-pointers in both games in the conference finals. Martin has also been helpful on the boards pulling down four in both contests and he blocked shots and stole the ball in both as well. Martin has logged three steals in this series and he’s posted swipes in four straight games. Martin is good at hanging at the elbow and taking advantage of long rebounding. When the ball hits the rim hard and recoils toward the elbow, Martin puts himself in good spots to grab the board and then bring the ball out to the arc to reset the offense. There’s no reason Martin shouldn’t play 30 minutes once again as Miami looks to take a three-game series lead.
Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics
Smart had a down game last time out as he just wasn’t threading the needle successfully. In game one, he dropped 11 dimes and just three in game two. Smart doesn’t take stupid shots anymore and will often look to defer and find an open teammate. He still hasn’t shot under 40 percent in four straight contests and we should see him take six-to-ten shots this evening. Smart has been helpful in pulling down rebounds as he’s posted at least four in three of his last four games. Smart will spend the most time on the ball and he should log around 35 minutes of action tonight. After seeing the success he had in game one, we should give him another opportunity. He’s a very blue-collar player and he’ll fight for loose balls and play aggressively on the perimeter on defense. He’s one of the players that forced the Heat to throw the ball into the post more rather than produce from the outside. Smart plays strong perimeter defense and he’s excellent at reading and anticipating screens. Let’s give him a chance to rebound being that he has the ball in his hands a lot and he gets a lot of playing time.
Kyle Lowry, Miami Heat
It had been almost two weeks since Lowry had a poor shooting outing and in game two, he didn’t hit a shot. He still produced in other areas, which is why we’re going back to him tonight in DFS. Lowry still dished five assists for the third time in four games. We should see Lowry play 25-30 minutes tonight and he’ll spend a decent amount of time playing on the ball. Lowry has been helpful in producing in other areas such as steals and blocks. He swatted away shots in four straight and he’s stolen the ball in each of his last five contests. Even though he only took five shots in game two, he took 12 in the first game of the series and shot 50 percent from the field. Lowry has done a good job of sneaking in the lane to keep plays alive off shots. He’s pulled down three boards or more in six of his last eight outings. Lowry is a committed defender on the ball and the Heat need his veteran presence on the floor. If Gabe Vincent hits all his shots, it may lower Lowry’s production ceiling, but we should see him more involved in the Heat’s offense tonight and he should take seven-to-ten shots in this contest. Lowry should try driving the lane a bit more to draw contact rather than settling for as many three-pointers as he does.
NBA DFS Dart Throws
Malcolm Brogdon, Boston Celtics
Brogdon is a dart throw because of his high price and if he’s not scoring 16-20 points, he’ll need to produce in other areas to give us a strong DFS return, and he’s let us down at times. We should see Brogdon play for around 30 minutes. His arm isn’t 100 percent healthy, but he still took nine shots and hit four of them last game. He hit just one-of-five shots that he took from beyond the arc. He doesn’t post many assists and he’s been inconsistently producing steals. Brogdon blocked a couple of shots last game and if he continues contesting shots, it’ll pave another road for him to earn more minutes. Brogdon has grabbed four rebounds twice in his last four battles. We should see him play a few more minutes and take a few more shots this game as the Celtics will need his offense to keep up with Miami, but the question remains whether he’ll provide help in other areas to increase his DFS value and that’s what makes him a dart throw. He gives instant offense to Boston and we know he’ll get the shots when he’s on the court even if other players are hot shooting from the field. Hopefully, he can provide another steal and drop a few dimes when ball-handling with the Celtics second unit.
Robert Williams, Boston Celtics
What else does Williams have to do to earn more minutes? He’s hit every shot he’s taken this series and has scored 27 points in two games. Williams rebounding was a bit down last contest, but he still blocked multiple shots last game and even though he hasn’t played good defense on Adebayo, he’s still given Boston inside production and they might as well ride him out a bit more because he’s able to find openings right under the basket on offense. He’s blocked three shots in his last two games and posted swipes in two of his last three outings. We just don’t know how much action he’ll see on the court, but he deserves 25-30 minutes. Williams has still given a strong DFS return considering how cheap he’s been in DFS. He continues to prove he doesn’t need a lot of minutes to post stats and Horford hasn’t made much of an impact this series. The Celtics are better off letting Williams play a bit more to somewhat limit Miami in the post. They should give him a chance until he starts being a detriment on both sides of the ball. He’s hit all 11 shots he’s put up this series and he’s worth the dart throw for DFS. He’s been more mobile than normal off the ball on offense and that's contributed to his success.