The Miami Heat have the opportunity to build a convincing lead in the series tonight as they play their second straight game at home. We’ll preview the game before going over my favorite prop play for the action.
Through three games of the series, the Miami Heat have a defensive efficiency rating of 105.3, which is the best rating among playoff teams in that span. Their highly efficient and swarming defense was on full display in game three as they held the Knicks to a 34% field goal percentage and 20% three-point percentage. Miami’s defense held Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle to a combined 0-10 from three in the game, which is the second time this series they have held Brunson without a three-ball.
The lack of three-point shooting likely would not be that much of an issue if New York didn’t end the game with just 36 points in the paint, despite having the highest field goal percentage on shots in the paint outside the restricted area over the past three games. There is no denying that Miami’s defense has been great, but New York’s offense doesn’t seem to have any game plan in mind.
New York has gotten 18.2% of their points this postseason from the free throw line, which is the highest among playoff teams, and in the two games they’ve lost, they have attempted fewer free throws than Miami. There is nothing wrong with attempting 40 threes in a game, as they were able to do it and win in game two, but they also made 21 free throws in game two out of 30 attempts which opened things up a bit more from deep.
When New York gets complacent on the offensive end, they are doing exactly what Miami wants them to do. The adjustments or lack of adjustments on that end of the floor could truly determine how long this series goes on.
For my prop play in this one, I’ll be targeting RJ Barrett to go over his points total of 19.5, currently priced at (-118). Barrett has gone over this total in four of his last five games and including the first two games of this series.
Of Barrett’s 121 field goal attempts this postseason, 68 of them have come inside the paint, which I think bodes well for Barrett for the rest of this series as long as he shoots it a bit better. Miami has allowed a field goal percentage of 60.6% inside eight feet of the basket and 49.6% from 8-16 feet from the basket, which are two of the highest percentages allowed from remaining playoff teams.
When Barrett makes his presence felt when it comes to interior scoring, as he did in game one, he finished with 26 points. In that game, the Knicks forward had eight free throw attempts, which is the highest he’s had all series, so there is no secret what he needs to do in order to help the Knicks bounce back on that end of the floor.
RJ Barrett Over 19.5 Points (-118)