MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 17: Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat and Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics look on during the fourth quarter in Game One of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals at FTX Arena on May 17, 2022 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
NBA

Warriors And Heat Take Opening Game In NBA Final Four Series

The first games of both series in the NBA Playoffs Final Four are in the bag and it was the two home court teams, the Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors that took the advantage in their respective series.

Both will have the opportunity to increase that lead in the second game in the series over the next couple of nights, with both having home court advantage once again.

For the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks, there may be a somewhat chilling realization that if they are going to play for the NBA Championship, they are going to have to land at least one victory on the road against a team that doesn’t lose too many games in front of its own fans.

After both games, the price on the Warriors to win the NBA Championship shortened to 11/10, with the Heat 11/4, while the odds on the Celtics and Mavericks lengthened to 13/4 and 9/1 respectively, all of those prices with BetMGM Sportsbook.

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Boston Celtics 107-118 Miami Heat (Heat lead 1-0)

Jayson Tatum connected for 29 points, Jaylen Brown for 24 but it still wasn’t enough

MIAMI, FLORIDA – MAY 17: Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat reacts to a basket against the Boston Celtics during the fourth quarter in Game One of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals at FTX Arena on May 17, 2022 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

for the Boston Celtics who lost the first game in their Eastern Conference Final series against the Miami Heat.

Once again, it was Jimmy Butler that proved to be the inspiration for the heat. The forward has been in sensational form for the Heat throughout the playoffs and he had a big-time game on the night, hitting 41 points in 41 minutes played, adding nine rebounds and five assists for good measure.

The Celtics, who have built their recent success on the back of a suffocating defense, could not stop Butler as he produced another stellar individual performance to lead the Heat to an opening game win.

Down by eight at the half, coach Erik Spoelstra would not have been too happy with the Heat’s opening half display.

However, Butler’s 27 points in the second half turned the game Miami’s way and Spoelstra knows how important Butler is to the team.

“Jimmy Butler is an elite competitor,” the head coach remarked following the victory.

“There’s a lot of guys in this league that are playing basketball. He’s competing to win. That’s a totally different thing and he does that as well as anybody in this league.”

A third quarter surge which saw the Heat outscore the Celtics 39-14 was the catalyst for the win and led to a relatively comfortable fourth quarter for the heat, with the Celtics enduring their worst run of scoring form in the third quarter in a long, long time.

The Celtics missed Marcus Smart and Al Horford, who missed this game and will likely miss Game 2, and they are going to have to avoid any further third quarter meltdowns if they are to challenge Miami in the second game coming up tonight.

BetMGM Sportsbook has the Celtics as the +3.5 underdogs for this game and at 7/5 on the moneyline, with the Heat a 3/5 shot on the same market for tonight’s game.

Dallas Mavericks 87-112 Golden State Warriors (Warriors lead 1-0)

For all Steph Curry’s immense scoring prowess, tonight was about a team effort and a

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – MAY 18: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts as he passes Head Coach Jason Kidd of the Dallas Mavericks against the Golden State Warriors during the third quarter in Game One of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals at Chase Center on May 18, 2022 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

collective approach to defense that led the Warriors to a comfortable win over the Mavericks.

Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic was held in check by the clever defending of the Warriors, with Andrew Wiggins in particular proving effective against the Slovenian star who scored a playoff low of 20 points in the game.

On the other team, seven Warriors players scored 10 points or more, with Steph Curry top scoring with 21, a modest number by his standards, and Jordan Poole adding 19 along with Wiggins who also hit that number.

However, despite their ability to score big numbers, it was the team collective effort to deny the Mavericks the opportunity to bring Doncic more into the game that was the basis for this Warriors win and it was recognised by the Mavs star following the game.

“A great job. That’s it. They did a great job,” Doncic admitted after the buzzer commenting on how the Warriors kept him on the fringes of the game.

The Warriors have had plenty of experience of stopping top-level NBA talent in their previous two games in the post-season, negating 2-time back-to-back NBA MVP Nikola Jokic in their opening series and then doing the same for Ja Morant in the first few games of the last series.

For Friday’s game the Warriors are the odds on 4/11 favourites with BetMGM Sportsbook in the moneyline, with the Mavericks 11/5 and rated as a +6.5 underdog for the second game in the series.

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