The Boston Celtics fell to the Miami Heat Tuesday night in Game 1. Now, trailing 0-1, Boston has a lot of obstacles ahead of them in the Eastern Conference Semifinals series. Not only are they on the road again for Game 2, but the Celtics dealing with injuries and a recent COVID-19 outbreak.
Al Horford missed Game 1 in Miami after testing positive for COVID-19. News broke Wednesday that multiple staff members within the franchise also tested positive for the virus. Not to mention, Boston's starting point guard Marcus Smart was sidelined in Game 1 due to a foot sprain.
With so much against them, it's tough to see how the Celtics come out of Game 2 with a win. Do they tie the series at 1-1, or go down 2-0 before returning to Boston for Game 3? Here are our three boldest predictions for Game 2 Thursday night.
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Celtics 3 Bold Predictions for Game 2 vs. Heat
3. Marcus Smart comes up huge
As mentioned earlier, Marcus Smart has yet to make his series debut against the Heat because of the foot sprain he suffered in the Celtics' Game 7 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. Fortunately, he is expected to play in Game 2 if his recovery continues to head in the right direction.
Come game time, expect Smart to be in the Celtics' starting five, and expect to see a huge impact from him. He will have at least 15 points and ten rebounds in his double-double performance Thursday night.
2. Stronger effort coming out of the half
Game 1 was smooth sailing for the Celtics — until it wasn't. Aside from a short period in the first quarter, Boston held the lead steadily in the first half. They were consistent on offense and on target to put up over 120 points.
Instead, the team's offensive momentum stopped coming out of halftime. They only put up 14 points in the third quarter while allowing 39. Expect the Celtics to learn from this mistake quickly, and have an extremely aggressive offensive game plan early in the second half. They'll put up at least 30 points in the third quarter.
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1. Another high-scoring game with a nail-biting finish
Throughout the 2022 NBA Playoffs, there haven't been too many showstopping endings. In fact, the only one I can recall off the top of my head is Game 1 of the Celtics vs. Brooklyn Nets series in round one. Expect to see something similar in Game 2.
Despite having the home-court advantage, it took Miami a little while to “turn up the Heat” (pun definitely intended) in Game 1. To be fair, it's hard to recover from a step-back three-pointer to start the game.
Thursday night, expect both teams to come out extremely strong offensively, putting up at least 110 points each. This game will come down to the final seconds of play, but the Celtics will end up on top. Finally, our boldest prediction yet: Boston takes the win 114-112.