2012 NBA Playoffs - Eastern Conference Finals - Celtics v. Heat Game 6

Bovada Sportsbook has the Heat as slight 1 1/2 point favorites going into Game 6 on Thursday

Game Six at the AmericanAirlines Arena was a stunner for the Miami Heat, and not in a good way. Looking lackluster through the first half of the game the Boston Celtics mounted a comeback in the third quarter and controlled the fourth quarter, especially in the final minutes. Controlled play and a variable defense helped the Celtics put the Heat away to take a 3-2 lead in the series. The next game will be back in Boston for Game Six and perhaps the Conference title.

The current spread at 1.5 points favors the Heat to win Game Six. The Heat will have to overcome two important obstructions to victory. First, Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra has been criticized for doing too much cheerleading and not enough coaching. The main point of criticism has been Miami’s inability to adjust to the switching defensive looks Boston is putting forward. There have also been questions about why Chris Bosh did not play more in his first game back since injury. Spoelstra response was that it would not have been fair to place Bosh into the game late in the fourth quarter. If Bosh is really going to have the impact Miami hopes he will, you can expect he’ll play more in Game Six; no more taking it easy when it’s do or die. Second, where was Mario Chambers last game? He was certainly on the floor enough but he definitely under-performed. In contrast the Celtics got solid and consistent numbers all along the roster.

Clearly the Heat did not have their best game, but kudos to LeBron James and Dwayne Wade for keeping the game close. Therefore to win Game Six Boston will have to do much of what they did Tuesday night; and do it even bigger. Boston needs to get going earlier in the game and keep the pressure on. Rajon Rondo admitted to not being at his best last game, expect him to take that to heart and come out early in Game Six. To his credit Rondo played a very disciplined and technically sound game, the Celtics need to continue to play smart basketball. To do this Doc Rivers most continue to keep his men in the right position to win. During the Game Five post-game interviews Paul Pierce expressed confidence that his team had been focused and dialed in before the game. No doubt they will be even more ready to take on the Heat at home for Game Six. It would seem that at this moment in time the Boston Celtics are playing good basketball, and more importantly, good basketball as a cohesive unit.

So for Thursday night’s Eastern Conference Game Six the team that plays as a team will win. Do not pick a winner for this game based on your favorite players, think about who can play the best team basketball against their opponent. This seems to be Boston but do not rule out the kind of lift Bosh could bring to the Heat if he is healthy and gets the minutes to contribute.

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