NBA Playoffs - Eastern Conference Finals - Celtics v. Heat
Game Five of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals kicks off Tuesday evening, June 5th, promising an exciting turn in an already captivating series. A nerve racking Game Four this past Sunday brought the series to a tie when the Boston Celtics claimed an overtime victory with a score of 93-91. Rajon Rondo of the Celtics had a powerful overtime performance to give Boston its final three points and the victory. Game Five will return these teams to Miami where the Heat took the first two games in the series suggesting the home crowd will figure smartly into the outcome this Tuesday. But that said three other factors will impact Tuesday's outcome and important for NBA Sportsbettors.
Both LeBron James of the Miami Heat and Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics fouled out during Sunday's battle and we can expect Game Five to be just as fiery. However, both teams should have a vested interest in keeping their respective players on the court. Thus far in the series James has produced 37 points and 18 assists, the best of the Heat. Pierce has likewise impressed with strong points in all stat boxes keeping the Celtics attack balanced and consistent. Furthermore, Celtics fans have reason for concern when the foul distribution is considered throughout this series. The Celtics have been charged with approximately 10% more fouls since the beginning of the series thus marking an potential flaw in their game which may hurt Boston if the final games are close.
The return of Chris Bosh is a real possibility for Miami, after he was injured during the second round of the playoffs. While the Heat may wish to have the added option in a game-ready Chris Bosh, NBA oddsmakers are quick to point out that Bosh could not slow Boston's Big Four players during the regular season. Boston's Big Four, Rondo, Allen, Garnett and Pierce, have all played at or above average when Chris Bosh was on the floor. Perhaps even more importantly, Rajon Rondo, who has been looking very good as of late, played very well against Miami all year long whether Bosh was on the floor or not.
This Eastern Conference series is graced with some wonderful players on both sides of the ball; each team has well-know and well-proven names on their roster, but what about names that do not make headlines? This may be the determining factor as the Celtics travel to Miami hoping to turn the tide in the series. Brandon Bass is a good bet this series; the Celtic's 6'8" forward has been filling the supporting role with style. Very solid from the free throw line and steady on defense Bass should help to keep the Game Five close and let the Celtic's scorers go to work. On the Miami side look at Udonis Haslem to keep the pressure on Boston this game. Reliable on the rebounds but less consistent at the free throw line Haslem will need to hit all his free throws next game to capitalize on the Celtic's fouling problems.
So there it is; Miami will have an at-home edge which will likely draw more fouling from Boston. Then even if Bosh does return, his impact should be less pronounced than some would be led to believe because Boston has the skill to neutralize the Bosh impact. Finally, the game may best be decided at the free throw line and if that is the case then Boston is your team to pick to win Game Five of 2012 Eastern Conference Finals.