While the Mavs have been steamrolled by the Warriors out West, there’s been a back-and-forth battle brewing in the Eastern Conference Finals. Can the Heat pull off the upset in a tough Game 6?
In this edition of the Showstopper, we’ll give you the injury news and betting angles for tonight’s red-hot NBA matchup. We’ll also hit the ice to break down a pair of NHL®️ playoff games you don’t want to miss.
Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics
Friday, May 27 | TV: ESPN
The Celtics are back at home with a 3-2 series lead and a chance to secure their first NBA Finals berth since 2010. Boston has reeled off two straight wins with relative ease, backed by strong defensive team performances and consistent playmaking from star Jayson Tatum. Meanwhile, the Heat’s starting lineup has been floundering, especially in the backcourt. Kyle Lowry and Max Strus went a combined 1-of-28 from the field over Miami’s last two games. As Charles Barkley would say, that’s simply “turrible.” On top of that, Jimmy Butler has shot 7-of-32 over that span, as he continues to play with an ailing right knee. Overall, the Heat can’t buy a bucket, leaving major doubts about whether they have enough gas left in the tank.
Is there a silver lining left for the Heat? Well, they did lose badly to the 76ers in back-to-back games of the semifinals before taking control, although that was a fresher squad against a weaker defense. Butler and Lowry are two vets that play with a lot of pride, so they likely won’t go out with a whimper. Butler has vowed that he’s “gotta do better” heading into a game where the Heat are heavy underdogs. The Heat have sorely missed their Sixth Man of the Year, Tyler Herro, who is listed as questionable for Friday’s contest. Without him, Miami will rely on Victor Oladipo again to try to fill the scoring void. It’ll be interesting to see if coach Erik Spoelstra has a short leash for his starting backcourt if things start to go south.
Colorado Avalanche vs. St. Louis Blues
Friday, May 27 | TV: TNT
The Blues have put up a heck of a fight versus the Avalanche, capped off with a remarkable rally Wednesday night to force Game 6 on their home ice. Colorado lost Game 5 in spite of Nathan MacKinnon’s second career playoff hat trick. And that dominant showing followed Nazem Kadri’s hat trick in Game 4. While the Blues have stayed alive, their fortune might be running thin if they continue to give up goals at this blistering pace. The Avs’ impressive offense has scored 15 times over their last three contests after being held in check to start the series. St. Louis lost two home games to Colorado already, so a third isn’t out of the question.
After the Avalanche blew the lead last time out, coach Jared Bednar believes his team will play with confidence, and why not. They’ve clearly shown they can score with relative ease against the Blues, and it’s just a matter of tightening up the defense to avoid a repeat scenario. It’ll be tougher to close out this series on the road, but history is on Colorado’s side. The Avalanche are 11-2 in series they’ve led 3-1.
Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Rangers
Saturday, May 28 | TV: ESPN
The Rangers are in a must-win scenario at home following their 3-1 defeat in Game 5. Despite the Rangers’ best efforts, Carolina has a 3-2 series lead with a tenacious defense leading the way. Over their three wins, the Hurricanes have held the Rangers to a total of two goals. The Rangers’ offense went quiet in Game 5, as they had only 10 shots on goal in the first two periods of action. Comparatively, they’ve scored much better at Madison Square Garden, so there remains some hope they can find their offensive spark once more. Rangers center Mika Zibanejad has been the biggest bright spot, as he’s now scored six goals in his last seven games.
The Hurricanes have surged to a 7-0 record at home in the postseason, but they’ve been very vulnerable on the road, going 0-5 away from PNC Arena. It’s a curious split thus far, considering the Hurricanes tied for the league lead in regular-season road wins. If you’re hunting for prop bets, left wing Teuvo Teravainen has been the Hurricanes’ most consistent threat on offense, with two goals and two assists in this series, including a rare power-play score in Game 5. Carolina had gone 0-for-9 on the power play against the Rangers before finally breaking through Thursday night.