Celtics Bring 3-2 Lead Over Heat Back To Boston

By: Pat Williams | Wednesday, June 6, 2012

After watching the Boston Celtics drop Games 1 and 2 in the Eastern Conference Finals, you would have not been wide of the mark by describing this year’s Celtics as old and pretending.

But now, after three straight victories and against the spread covers, Boston must be regarded as experienced and contending.

An amazing three-game stretch by a trio of sure-fire, first-ballot hall of famers and their emotional but uber-talented point guard have the Celtics within one home-court win of the 2012 NBA Finals. Boston will find itself, once again, an underdog at home vs. the Miami Heat. Miami is now favored in Game 6 by 1½ points according to the Don Best odds screen, with a posted total of 179.

Tip from TD Garden is 8:30 p.m. (ET) on Thursday with ESPN providing the television coverage.

Forget Boston being 4-1 against the spread in this best of seven series. Forget Miami’s dismal 1-10 against the spread record in its last 11 trips to Boston. At this moment, Boston is the better basketball team, period. With that being said, how in the world can Boston be getting points on their home floor?

All the pressure, as we all witnessed in the fourth quarter of Game 5, will be squarely on the shoulders of the Heat, and through the first five games of the series, they still do not appear ready to handle it.

Playing with extreme confidence and expecting to beat the Heat every time they take the floor, Boston’s continual show of heart and experience is clearly an extension of head coach Doc Rivers who heaped praise on his squad after the C's took a 3-2 lead in the series.

"It's just a good team. A close-knit team. We have a lot of positive talk in our locker room, a lot," Rivers noted. "Honestly they believe they can win and we just have to keep hanging in there.

"I told them, we've done nothing. We're going to Boston, they're not going to give it to us, and we have to go get it."

Boston playing great team defense in Game 6 is a given. The Celtics continue to rely on ball movement, making the extra pass and playing as a team is also a given. Miami getting big numbers from LeBron James and probably from Dwyane Wade is a given. Chris Bosh’s points, rebounds and ability to defend Kevin Garnett in Game 6 remain huge question marks but one way or the other, will determine the outcome.

Bosh (9 points, 7 rebounds) sparked the Heat in Game 5 but did not see the floor in the always critical fourth quarter. Look for Bosh to play as much as physically possible in Game 6. The Heat’s season, and Miami head coach Eric Spoelstra’s job, both depend on it.

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