LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have suffered three consecutive losses to the Boston Celtics in the 2012 Eastern Conference final, but that's not going to stop loyal supporters from backing the Miami Heat on Thursday night at the TD Garden in Boston.
Miami can only hope for a similar bounce-back performance that it produced after dropping three straight games to close out a Western Conference road trip from Jan. 10-13, capturing a 120-98 blowout win at home over the San Antonio Spurs as seven-point home favorites four days later.
The Heat have split 10 games when favored on the road by three or fewer points this year, which includes a 93-91 overtime defeat inside this venue in Game 4.
Boston is a single victory away from reaching the 2012 NBA Finals, but is just 2-4 when leading a 2012 NBA playoff series. The Celtics also possess a mediocre 6-5 record as a home underdog of three or fewer points since the start of the 2009-10 campaign.
You're going to have a hard time finding anyone outside of Boston that expects this series to end on Thursday night, especially with the "must-win" angle being talked about at nauseam.
Last time I checked—Game 5 was slapped with a similar label.
Prediction: Boston Celtics 88, Miami Heat 85
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