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After an incredible start to the 2019 season of 10-1, the Celtics have faced reality after a tough road trip. The Celtics have won just 3 of their last 7 games placing them at just 4th in the Eastern Conference. There is really nothing else to say, other than the fact that the Celtics are not playing their best basketball. Tonight, Boston is set to play their first game at home, against a very strong Miami Heat team.

Last night, the Heat beat the Toronto Raptors as they spoiled their undefeated home record. The Celtics are undefeated at home and are playing to defend this title. Miami is coming off a back-to-back, and are getting ready to finish their 3 game road trip. Miami has been 2-0 to start this road trip. To add on, Miami will be without Goran Dragic (groin), but will welcome Derrick Jones Jr. and Dion Waiters back to the lineup – which is significant.

The Celtics are still without Gordon Hayward, who started off on a tear, as well as the recently injured Marcus Smart. Marcus Smart will be heavily missed, as he has proven to be an elite defender in the league. Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown have all been having great seasons so far.

The odds in this game have the Celtics in favor, with the line being Celtics -5.5. The Celtics have a slight advantage in terms of rest as they played their last game 3 days ago against the Knicks. The Heat have started this season hot from the start with help from their talented rookie class and their depth.

Without Marcus Smart, it will be hard for the Celtics to beat this talented Heat team. The Celtics will have a hard time guarding Jimmy Butler; however, they can win this game by trying to contain him. Semi Ojeleye is an underrated defensive profile for the Boston Celtics as he proved himself last year when he was faced with the competition of guarding Giannis Antetokounmpo.  Be prepared to see a duel between Jimmy Buckets and Kemba Walker. Brad Stevens talks very highly on Jaylen Brown’s defensive skill so it is expected that Jaylen will be tasked with defending one of the league’s most elite scorers.

My prediction:
– Boston Celtics: 108
– Miami Heat: 102
– MVP of the game: Jayson Tatum

(Photo Credit: USA Today)