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Winners Club: Celtics, Heat Face Off in Miami in Crucial Game 5

Plus, Mavericks extend series with Warriors and a Stanley Cup playoffs update.

Game 4 between the Warriors and Mavericks offered a bit more intrigue than the recent slate of NBA playoff games. After Golden State went down 29 points, it battled back to bring the deficit to single digits in the waning minutes.

Things got close enough for Steve Kerr to bring back his starters, who were largely on the bench for the final frame. In the end, though, the result was pretty much what we’ve gotten used to over the last few weeks: Dallas won by 10, yet another double-digit win. Only two of eight conference finals games have been decided by single digits.

The Celtics-Heat series picks back up tonight with Boston a slight favorite. If recent history tells us anything, the scoring difference will be much more than the line of 1.5 points, regardless of which team comes out victorious. Keep reading for more on the NBA postseason and Stanley Cup playoffs.

Celtics Favored to Beat Heat With Series Tied, 2-2

Boston held Miami to its second-lowest scoring performance of the playoffs in Game 4. The Celtics scored a 102-82 win at home that was more dominant than the final score appeared. After getting out to an 18-1 lead, Boston never really let up and the Heat starters had no answers. Miami’s starters combined to score just 18 points and the team was outrebounded 60-39 in the loss.

The teams now head back to Miami, where they split the first two games earlier in the series. Tonight is the first time this postseason that the Celtics are favored on the road, as well as the first time the Heat are underdogs at home. Boston is favored to win the series (-175) and the most likely outcome at SISB is the Celtics winning in six games (+155).

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And in Dallas, elimination-game Luka Dončić showed up. The Mavericks star had a game-high 30 points to pair with 14 rebounds and nine assists in the 119-109 win, which extended the series to at least five games. All of the three-pointers the team missed for the first three games seemed to find their way into the hoop against the Warriors on Tuesday night. Golden State was outshot and outrebounded by Dallas and now the series heads back to San Francisco.

The Warriors are massive favorites to win the series (-4000) and avoid making NBA history by blowing a 3-0 lead. The most likely outcome at SISB is the Warriors closing out the series in Game 5 (-345).

Wednesday
8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN): Celtics (-1.5) vs. Heat | Series tied, 2-2

Thursday
9 p.m. ET (TNT): Mavericks vs. Warriors (-7.5) | Golden State leads series, 3-1

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Avalanche One Win From Conference Finals

Colorado can advance to the West Finals with a win tonight at home. The Avalanche, favorites to win it all, are heavily favored to eliminate the Blues in Game 5 at home after taking a 3-1 series lead Monday.

If Colorado wins, it would join Tampa Bay as the only other team to clinch its spot in the conference finals. The Lightning swept the Panthers, who won the President’s Cup in the regular season, and are firmly in the hunt for their third straight Stanley Cup win.

And on Tuesday night, the Oilers took a 3-1 series lead with a 5-3 win against the Flames and the Rangers tied their series with the Hurricanes with a 4-1 win at Madison Square Garden. Both of those series pick back up Thursday, with Edmonton also one win away from the conference finals.

Wednesday
8 p.m. ET (TNT): Blues vs. Avalanche (-250) | Colorado leads series, 3-1

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Thursday
7 p.m. ET (ESPN): Rangers vs. Hurricanes (-150) | Series tied, 2-2

9:30 p.m. ET (ESPN): Oilers vs. Flames (-150) | Edmonton leads series, 3-1

In Other News

Latest MLB Power Rankings: The Dodgers took back the top spot from the Yankees after ratting off a seven-game win streak last week. The Mets aren’t far behind despite injuries to their star pitchers and the Astros and Padres hold the other positions in the top five. See how the rest of the league is ranked.

All-NBA Teams Announced: Giannis Antetokounmpo was unanimously selected to First Team All-NBA, MVP runner-up Joel Embiid was relegated to Second Team and LeBron James ended up on the Third team, the 18th selection of his career. Read who made each team and how the voting broke down.

Kyler Murray Skips OTAs: The Cardinals former No. 1 overall pick is in a public contract negotiation with the franchise and will not attend the optional organized team activities this week, though he is expected to attend minicamp. Arizona was also announced as the subject of HBO’s Hard Knocks In Season, which could be rather interesting if the current situation extends into the season.

Fantasy Baseball Rundown: There’s a whole lot to keep track of in a single week of fantasy baseball action, so get the synopsis of No. 1 prospect Adley Rutschman’s Orioles debut, some surprise steals leaders and Trevor Story’s hot streak.


Thanks for reading Winners Club! I’ll be back Friday.