at Boston Celtics (0-0) at Miami Heat (0-0)
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
8:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #1, Road Game #1
TV: TNT, SNET1
Radio: WEEI, WAXY, ESPNR
American Airlines Arena Probable Starting Matchups Point Guard
Rajon Rondo vs Mario Chalmers Shooting Guard
Courtney Lee vs Dwyane Wade
Paul Pierce vs LeBron James
Brandon Bass vs Shane Battier
Kevin Garnett vs Chris Bosh Boston's Reserves
Avery Bradley (shoulders) outMiami's Reserves
None Game Notes
The Heat and Celtics face off for the first of four meetings between these teams on opening night of the 2012-13 NBA campaign. The Heat and Celtics met four times during the 2011-12 regular season with Boston winning the season series, 3-1. They also faced off
in the Eastern Conference Finals, marking the third straight post-season that the two teams were matched against each other in the playoffs. The Heat won the series, 4-3. Overall during the regular season the Celtics are 61-38 all-time against the Heat, and are 28-23 in games played in Miami.
Doc Rivers has made the Heat the #1 enemy of the Celtics by playing the Eastern Conference Finals games on a continuous loop in the locker room all during training camp. Even the new players now hate the Heat. There is now added intrigue to the rivalry with Ray Allen turning his back on the Celtics to join the enemy. There have been many words back and forth this preseason and now it comes down to putting it all on the court.
We know that Jason Terry badly wants to out play Ray. Ray wants to stick it to the Celtics more than he already has. The Celtics need to look past their desire to beat their old teammate for his defection and his jabs at the team in recent interviews, however and play team ball, concentrating on stopping the Heat as a team. Like Doc said, if all they focus on is Ray, they will lose by 40.
Another side note is that the Heat will be receiving their Championship rings in a ceremony before tip off. Back in 2008 when the Celtics received their rings on opening night against the Cavs, LeBron chose to remain in the locker room rather than watching the proceedings. Will the Celtics watch them get their rings as yet another motivation for this season or will they stay in the locker room as LeBron did in 2008? I say they watch - they can't get much better motivation than that. Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Mario Chalmers
Rondo has taken the mantle of leader this season, off the court as well as on the court. I expect him to be very aggressive both on offense and on defense and will take advantage of all the new offensive weapons that the Celtics have this season.
Paul Pierce vs LeBron James
This is always a tough matchup for any team. Expect Jeff Green to get the call to cover LeBron some of the time in this game. Green has been effective in the past guarding him and so should take some of the pressure off of Pierce by doing so. Green will also be a tough cover for LeBron with his strength and quickness.
Jason Terry vs Ray Allen
Ever since the Celtics signed Jason Terry and Ray Allen bolted for South Beach, this matchup has been much anticipated. Hopefully Jet just plays his game and doesn't get too caught up in trying to outgun Ray. Ray has been a liability on defense in recent years and Jet needs to go at him to exploit that. Honorable Mention
Courtney Lee vs Dwyane Wade
Avery Bradley proved to be a Wade stopper but until Avery comes back, Courtney Lee will get the call to guard him. CLee is a good defender and has the size to cover Wade. He will also make Wade have to work on defense. Keys to the GameDefense
Both teams pride themselves on their defense. In the preseason, the Celtics struggled with pick and roll defense but hopefully they have had a chance to work out the kinks during their practices between their last preseason game and this one. Defense is always a key to winning. Rebound
Last season, the Celtics ranked last in rebounding most of the season. They have to work on improving their rebounding this season. It won't matter that we have more scorers on the team if they can't get the ball. Much of rebounding is desire and effort and they have to work on the boards. Jared Sullinger's knack for getting rebounds should help, but it has to be a team effort.
One of the Celtics biggest problems in the preseason was that they turned the ball over way too much. They have to be careful with their passes and take care of the ball. As Doc said in the preseason, it doesn't matter if you have 15 talented players, if you turn the ball over too many times, you won't win many games. Bench Play
One of the Celtics weaknesses last season was not having enough firepower off the bench. With the addition of Jason Terry, Leandro Barbosa, Jeff Green, and Jared Sullinger, the Celtics should have scoring and rebounding off the bench. Their depth should be one of their strengths this season. The Heat have also added to their bench including former Celtic Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, along with having a healthy Mike Miller. X-Factors
Rust vs Rest & Officials
The Celtics haven't played in 8 days. The Heat finished their preseason on Friday. Hopefully the Celtics will be ready and won't have any rust from the long layoff while the Heat have been playing all along.
Anyone who watched the games last season knows that the Heat got special treatment from the refs. It will be interesting to see whether that special treatment continues now that LeBron has his title. It will also be interesting to see if the league calls him on his flops or as with everything else, let him get away with them.