at Boston Celtics (40-38) at Miami Heat (62-16)
Friday, April 12, 2013
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #79, Road Game #39
TV: NBA-TV, CSNNE, SunSpM
Radio: WEEI, WAXY
American Airlines Arena Probable Starting Matchups Point Guard
Avery Bradley vs Mario Chalmers Shooting Guard
Courtney Lee vs Dwyane Wade
Jeff Green vs LeBron James
Brandon Bass vs Rashard Lewis
Chris Wilcox vs Chris Bosh Boston's Reserves
DJ White Injuries
Rajon Rondo (knee) out
Jared Sullinger (back) out
Kevin Garnett (foot) out
Paul Pierce (ankle) out D-League
Fab MeloMiami's Reserves
Juwan Howard Injuries
LeBron James (hamstring) game time decision
Dwyane Wade (ankle) probable
Udonis Haslem (ankle) game time decision
Chris Bosh (knee) game time decision Game Notes
The Heat and Celtics meet for the 4th and final time this season as both teams begin to gear up for the playoffs. The Heat lead the season series 2-1 with the Celtics winning at home 100-98 and Miami winning at home on opening night 120-107 and in Boston 105-103 in their last meeting.
Both teams have been resting their starters in recent games. Boston has announced that both KG and Paul Pierce will sit this one out, however they traveled with the team and may play in Saturday's game vs Orlando. Dwyane Wade is projected to return for this game after missing the last 6 games. Although they are listed as starting in Miami's Game Notes, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Udonis Haslem are all considered game time decisions. I'm thinking that they may end up sitting out since Doc is sitting his two stars.
The playoff picture, while not completely set is getting clearer. The Heat have clinched home court for the entire playoffs. The Celtics are still in 7th, 3 games ahead of Milwaukee with 4 games left. They are 2.5 games behind Atlanta in 6th. So, it looks like the Celtics will stay in the 7th spot. With the Knicks 2.5 games ahead of the Pacers for 2nd. Barring the Celtics losing all 4 of their remaining games and the Bucks winning all of theirs, the Heat should face the Bucks and the Celtics should face the Knicks in round 1.
The Celtics are playing in the first of back to back games and will play in Orlando on Saturday. This could have factored in their decision to sit KG and Pierce rather than play them back to back at this point of the season. This game really means little in the long run but could be a chance for the Celtics reserves to get more experience going into the playoffs. The most important thing for the Celtics at this point is to avoid any further injuries. 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 into rhythm and getting hot on offense.
Jason Terry vs Ray Allen
With all the publicity about Ray Allen's defection to Miami and the Celtics bringing in Jason Terry, this has been an anticipated matchup of scorers off the bench. Once again, both players will be trying to prove that their team made the right decision in signing them. After all of JET's talking about how much he hates the Heat, I expect him to give this one a little extra effort. Keys to the GameDefense
Both teams pride themselves on their defense and defense is always a key to winning. The Celtics have struggled somewhat on defense without KG and also while they try to acclimate all the new faces into the defense. Hopefully, with the chance to practice during this last stretch, the Celtics will get their defense ready for the playoffs, where defense becomes even more important. 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 while the Heat are 30th. . 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. They must rebound as a team with everyone going to the basket to box out or rebound. Be Aggressive
The Celtics have to be aggressive in going to the basket and not settle for jumpers, especially if they aren't falling. They have to dive for loose balls and be aggressive in crashing the boards. 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. X-FactorsOn the Road and Injuries
The Celtics are on the road and have not played well on the road this season. However, they must find a way to focus and to win on the road because they won't have home court in any series this post season.
In these last few games, it's going to be hard to predict who will play and who won't. The Celtics have announced that KG and Pierce are definitely out. It will depend on which players are out for the Heat to determine how tough this game will be for the Celtics.