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On Tuesday, May 16, the Western Conference Finals tipped off with a high-scoring affair in Denver, where the Nuggets took a 1-0 lead. The Heat and Celtics were preparing to begin their series the following night, with Boston billed as the overwhelming favorite to reach the NBA Finals for the second straight year.
One week later, Miami can join Denver in the Finals with a win on Tuesday night and establish the first time in league history that two teams meet for the title after sweeping their conference finals opponent. The Nuggets disposed of the Lakers in four games, sealing the deal Monday night in LA with yet another 30-point triple-double by Nikola Jokic.
The Heat are favored by 1.5 points ahead of tonight’s contest after drilling 19 three-pointers on just 35 attempts in Sunday’s Game 3. The total is 216, which these teams have matched or gone over in each game of the series thus far.
We have good and bad news from Monday’s WCF Game 4 best bets to share. Starting with the bad, we experienced the first loss of the conference finals when D’Angelo Russell didn’t connect on a three. As for the good news, that 2-1 result brings our record this round to a scorching 8-1, thanks to big nights from LeBron James and Jokic.
Smart is experiencing one of his worst shooting performances in a series during these conference finals but has balanced that out with his two best assist games of the 2023 playoffs despite his teammates struggling around him too. He’s reached the seven-assist mark seven times in 16 games this postseason.
The Celtics’ shooting percentages have continued to drop as they’ve advanced through each round this year, but they’ve gone especially cold from three-point range against Miami (29.2%).
With Smart operating as a playmaker, we expect Boston to be more effective shooting the ball tonight and will play the over on his assists.
If the books are going to keep giving us this number, we’re going to continue betting it. After averaging double-digit rebounds in a playoff series just once from 2018-2022, Tatum has done so in each round this year.
He’s posting 10.5 boards per night through 16 games in the 2023 playoffs, a new career high for the 24-year-old.
After notching three straight games with 10+ rebounds in both series before the ECF, we like Tatum to replicate that against Miami tonight after 13 in Game 2 and ten more in Game 3.
Butler has enjoyed playing at home during Miami’s unexpected title chase, earning an average of 9.8 free throw attempts in six games.
He’s shooting 87.6% from the line since the start of the Heat’s second-round series against New York, and our sense is that he will have another game playing the bulk of the minutes to try and guide his team to another Finals appearance.
Despite Butler seeing just ten free throw attempts in his last two games, we project him to take at least ten tonight and trust him to knock down nine or more.