There's only one game to talk about in the NBA playoffs this weekend, and it's a big one with the Eastern Conference Finals moving back to South Beach for Game 7 between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics.
The Heat are solid 8-point home-court favorites for the decisive battle, and the Don Best odds screen has the total sitting at 178. ESPN will have the tip from AmericanAirlines Arena at 8:30 p.m. (ET) on Saturday.
Miami dismantled the Celtics in Boston on Thursday with a 98-79 Game 6 victory to knot the series at three wins apiece. In their preview of that game earlier this week, Don Best Sports analysts Pat Williams and Monte Scates each thought the wrong team was favored with the Heat closing as 2-point chalk. But Miami proved the oddsmakers right and then some by jumping to a 10-point advantage in the first quarter and never looking back.
LeBron James also proved why he is generally regarded as the best player in the NBA with a huge 45-point effort along with 15 boards to lead the Heat in the rout. Dwyane Wade (17 points) was the only other Miami player to score more than nine points while Rajon Rondo paced a quartet of Celtics in double-digits with 21 points.
Miami's triumph and cover snapped a 4-game run against the spread for Boston, while the final tally fell three points shy of the 180-point total to break four straight 'overs' in the series.
The Celtics simply had no answer for LeBron on Thursday, trying different defensive matchups and double teams to no avail. Boston lost the battle on the boards by 10 and managed to sink just one of 14 attempts from beyond the 3-point line.
Williams believes the key for the Celtics to pull off an upset in Game 7 will be evening up the rebounding while getting more production from veteran Paul Pierce.
"If Paul Pierce can't step up and be the truth and play like the captain," Williams said, "the Celtics are done in this series."
Pierce connected on just 4-of-18 from the field in Game 6 and missed all six of his long-range shots.
Beating the Heat two times in a row on their home floor will not be easy for Boston, to state the obvious. Miami is a perfect 6-0 at home following a setback at AmericanAirlines Arena, and covered five of the six spreads with the average margin of victory a whopping 20.7 points.
Williams believes the play in Game 7 is on the 'over,' feeling confident enough that the Celtics won't have another horrible night shooting the rock.