at Miami Heat (51-14) at Boston Celtics (36-29)
Monday, March 18, 2013
8:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #66, Home Game #34
TV: ESPN, CSNNE, NABC, SunSpM
Radio: WEEI, WAXY
TD Garden Probable Starting Matchups Point Guard
Avery Bradley vs Mario Chalmers Shooting Guard
Courtney Lee vs Dwyane Wade
Paul Pierce vs LeBron James
Brandon Bass vs Udonis Haslem
Kevin Garnett vs Chris Bosh Boston's Reserves
Rajon Rondo (knee) out
Jared Sullinger (back) out
Kevin Garnett (adductor) questionable D-League
Fab MeloMiami's Reserves
None Game Notes
The Heat and Celtics meet for the third of four match-ups this season. The teams have split their two meetings so far this season, with both teams winning on their home court. Boston has won their last 10 regular season games at home against Miami. The Heat is 15-32 all time in games played in Boston.
This game is all about streaks. The last time these two teams met in Boston, the Celtics ended their 6 game losing streak and extended their win streak at home against the Heat to 10. 5 years ago on March 18th, the Celtics ended Houston's 22 game win streak. Five years later, the Heat come into Boston with a 22 game win streak and the Celtics are hoping that they can repeat history and end this 22 game win streak as well.
Kevin Garnett is considered 50-50 for this game and if he can't go or is limited, it gets a lot tougher for the Celtics. But the Celtics have overcome a lot of adversity and a complete team effort would still give them a chance to win. I'm being positive and putting KG into the starting lineup, hoping he'll be good to go.
The Heat are playing in back to back games and had to travel after their afternoon game in Toronto. For once, the Celtics have had the day off before the big matchup. The Celtics need to come out focused and play as a team from the start to the final buzzer. Key Matchups
Avery Bradley/Courtney Lee vs Mario Chalmers/Dwyane Wade
The Celtics "Pit Bull" backcourt will need to contain the Heat's backcourt players. I expect Bradley and Lee to tag team against Chalmers and Wade to keep Miami from getting into their offense and disrupting Wade especially from getting hot on offense.
Paul Pierce vs LeBron James
This is always a tough matchup for any team. Expect Jeff Green to get the call to cover LeBron much 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.
Kevin Garnett vs Chris Bosh
I know that KG is considered 50-50 for this game but I'm being positive in hoping he will be good to go. KG can defend Bosh very well, but if KG doesn't play the Celtics will struggle with this matchup because Bass won't be near as effective covering him. Keys to the GameDefense
Both teams pride themselves on their defense and defense is always a key to winning. The Celtics are 7th in points allowed (95.6) while the Heat are 8th (95.
. The Celtics are 4th in FG% allowed (43.7%) and the Heat are 9th (44.1%). The Celtics are 2nd in defending the 3 point line (33.4%) while the Heat are 12th (35.2%) If the Celtics want to win this game, they will have to play lock down team defense for 48 minutes. Rebound
The Heat are the only team in the league that rebound worse than the Celtics. The Celtics are 29th with 40.0 RPG while the Heat are 30th at 38.5 RPG. The Celtics need to crash the boards and prevent the Heat from getting second chance baskets and tip ins. They can also limit Miami's fast breaks and get some fast break opportunities of their own by crashing the boards as well. They must rebound as a team with everyone going to the basket to box out or rebound. Be Aggressive
When the Celtics are aggressive they are tough to beat. They have to be aggressive in going to the basket and not settle for jumpers, especially if they aren't falling. The starters need to come out and play aggressively from the beginning and the second unit needs to come in and pick up where they leave off. They have to attack the basket and be aggressive on defense especially.
The Celtics need their second unit to play well. The Heat are 21-1 when their bench outscores their opponents' bench. The Celtics reserves need to be aggressive and play with energy. They also have to defend to keep the Heat's reserves from getting an advantage. X-Factors
Officiating and KG
We know that the Heat get special treatment from the refs. A player as physical as LeBron can't go weeks without getting called for a foul without the refs letting him get away with a lot. In their last 3 games, they have had huge free throw discrepancies - Heat 29/Raptors 12, Heat 27/Sixers 12, Heat 30/Hawks 14. It appears that the Heat are getting some help keeping their streak alive. We can only hope that the Celtics can get a fair shot from them in this one.
Also, KG is 50-50 to play in this game and it becomes much tougher to win if KG can't play or is limited.