at Boston Celtics (10-7, 2-2) at Miami Heat (10-5,2-2)
Playoff Game #18 – Road Game #9
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
8:30 pm ET
TV: ESPN, TSN
Radio: WEEI, ESPN Radio
American Airlines ArenaProbable Starting Matchups Point Guard
Rajon Rondo vs Mario Chalmers Shooting Guard
Ray Allen vs Dwyane Wade
Paul Pierce vs LeBron James
Brandon Bass vs Shane Battier
Kevin Garnett vs Chris Bosh Reserves
Paul Pierce (knee) probable
Mickael Pietrus (hamstring) probable
Ray Allen (ankle) probable
Greg Stiemsma (feet) probable
Avery Bradley (shoulder) outReserves
Chris Bosh (ab strain) game time decisionKey Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Mario Chalmers
As always, Rondo is the key to the Celtics offense, defense, and energy. When Rondo plays well, the Celtics play well. When Rondo is aggressive, he causes matchup problems for the Heat. Rondo must be aggressive and he must run the offense and not allow it to get stagnant. Chalmers played very well at home and so the Celtics must also cover him as well.
Paul Pierce vs LeBron James
Both Pierce and James fouled out in game 4. For Pierce it was the 3rd time in 5 games that he was unable to finish out a game. It was the first time that James has fouled out since 2008 and he whined and complained about it afterwards saying that he doesn't foul out and that he didn't deserve the 6th foul. Will this affect the way these two players are treated by the refs in this game? Regardless, the Celtics need Pierce to attack the basket and be aggressive and hopefully he will get a break from the refs in spite of being on the road.
Kevin Garnett vs Chris Bosh (or whoever)
With Chris Bosh rumored to be back for this game things get a bit more difficult for KG. In spite of the fact that Bosh will be rusty and will have to work his way back into shape, he will give them more than Turiaf and Anthony have. KG will hopefully continue his otherworldly play and even though the Heat may get a boost from the return of Bosh, he may also disrupt the flow as they work to reincorporate him into the lineup. Game Notes
As the series shifts back to Miami, the buzz is all about the possible return of Chris Bosh. His return could give the Heat a boost and make it harder for KG or it could disrupt their chemistry since he has been out for 9 games as they try to re-insert Bosh into their lineup. It will definitely give them a boost emotionally and the Celtics have to weather that.
With KG, Ray, Pierce and Rondo, the Celtics are 8-0 in game 5's when the series is tied 2-2. While this may point to the heart and grit of this group, as with everything else in a series, each game is different and it will be up to the players to bring it on the court in order to get the win.
The spotlight has been on the officiating in this game. The officiating in games 1 and 2 was terrible. The non-calls on Rondo and Wade more than likely cost the Celtics game 2. The officiating was fairly even in games 3 and 4 but still not without controversy as both Pierce and LeBron fouled out, leading to complaints and whining from LeBron after the game. Then, there was Rondo's half time bit about the Heat spending too much time complaining to he refs during the game. A big factor in this game will be how it's called and how the players respond to how it's called.
The series is now the best of 3 and the Celtics must win one game in Miami while the Heat simply have to win at home. The Celtics have the momentum after winning the two in Boston and hopefully can carry that over to this game. They need to come out strong in this one and give it their best shot to get this game as a game 7 on the road is tough to win.
Keys to the GameStart strong
- The Celtics must come out strong and be aggressive right from the opening tip. They have to hit their shots and they have to play defense to prevent the easy scoring from the Heat. The Heat always make a run at some time in the game and so the Celtics have to build a cushion in order to withstand that run. Against the Heat, the Celtics can't afford to dig a hole because it is very difficult to dig out of it. Run the Offense
- The Celtics must run their sets and move the ball. The Celtics are at their best when they are moving the ball and making the extra pass and finding the open man. Along with moving the ball, they have to make smart passes and not the sloppy passes that lead to turnovers since turnovers against the Heat usually lead to a LeBron or Wade dunk at the other end. The Celtics have been starting out strong but letting up in the second half. They must keep their ball movement and offense moving for the whole game. Rebound
- The Celtics got out worked on the boards 48-33 in game 1. The rebounding was even in game 2 and the Celtics have outrebounded the Heat in both of their wins. When the Celtics crash the boards and win the rebounding battle they usually win the game. Pietrus' effort to grab the offensive rebounds in OT may have saved that win. The Celtics have got to put out effort in going after rebounds and crashing the boards. The team that wins the rebounding battle more often than not wins the war. Defense
- Defense wins championships. That's not just a cute saying, either. The Celtics have got to play in your face defense from start to finish if they want to win this game. Defense becomes even more important on the road as role players tend to shoot better at home and so the Celtics will need to close out the 3 point shooters as well as shut down the paint. Be Aggressive
- The Celtics must be the more aggressive team if they want to win this game. They have to be the team that wins the 50/50 balls. They have to be the team more aggressive on the boards. They must be the more aggressive team in going to the hoop and finishing at the hoop, not just driving toward the basket and hoping to get the foul because on the road, they probably won't get the calls. And they have to be the more aggressive team on defense. They simply can't allow the Heat to outwork them. Bench Play
- The Celtics have gotten a boost from their bench in games 3 and 4 after they were mostly invisible in games 1 and 2. The Celtics have veterans like Pietrus, Dooling and Quisy coming off the bench who should be able to play well on the road. The Celtics need to get production from them on both ends of the court so that the starters can get rest and not give up a lead or dig a hole while they are out. X-Factors
Focus and Officiating
The Celtics must come out focused on playing their game and not allow officiating or the Heat thuggery to derail them. If they can stay focused on both ends of the court and play aggressive basketball, they can get the win regardless of the officiating or the venue.
The officiating in game 1 and 2 was terrible. The officiating in games 3 and 4 was mostly even. The Celtics already have an uphill battle overcoming age and injuries without also having to overcome one sided officiating as well. Hopefully there has been enough of a spotlight on the officiating in this series that they will call it fair in this game as well.