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
Referees: James Capers, Mark Lindsay, Sean Wright
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 will probably play in Saturday's game vs Orlando. Dwyane Wade is projected to return for this game after missing the last 6 games. LeBron James and Chris Bosh are also projected to return after sitting out several games. Udonis Haslem and Shane Battier are said to be out to rest various injuries. I'm surprised they are saying that Bosh, Wade and James are returning for this one considering that KG and Pierce are out. But I guess they want to give the Celtics a beat down to remember them as the playoffs approach.
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 magic number is 2 to clinch the 7th seed. So hopefully the Celtics will win at least one and the Bucks will lose at least one.
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. This could get ugly with the Celtics sitting out their stars while the Heat are playing theirs, but you never know. The most important thing for the Celtics at this point is to avoid any further injuries.
Probable Starting Matchups
Courtney Lee vs Dwyane Wade
Jeff Green vs LeBron James
Chris Wilcox vs Chris Bosh
Rajon Rondo (knee) out
Jared Sullinger (back) out
Kevin Garnett (foot) out
Paul Pierce (ankle) out
LeBron James (hamstring) probable
Dwyane Wade (ankle) probable
Chris Bosh (knee) probable
Udonis Haslem (ankle) out
Shane Battier (ankle) out
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 Game
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.
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.
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.
On 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.
The son of former NBA official James Capers Sr., James Capers has officiated 1,015 regular season games and 54 playoff games during his 17-season NBA career. Capers made his first NBA Finals appearance during the 2011-12 season. In addition to his NBA experience, Capers has six years of CBA officiating experience, including three CBA Finals and two CBA All-Star Games. The community-conscious Capers was the recipient of the 1998 Monarch Award as Chicago Sportsman of the Year for his career and community achievements.Capers also conducts NBA Read to Achieve programs at two Chicago Public schools. He has also volunteered to train referees for the Philippines basketball association.
I've seen several posts from Lakers fans who swear he hates the Lakers. At least he has that in his favor. the last game Capers called last season was game 2 of the ECF and the officiating was terrible in that game. The Heat shot 47 free throws to 29 for the Celtics. Pierce, Dooling and Pietrus all fouled out. There were bad calls and missed calls throughout the game. Lebron James took 24 free throws himself, only 4 less than the entire Celtics team.
The Celtics are 6-4 over their last 10 games with Capers and 2-1 this season. The loss this season was the Nets game that resulted in a brawl. Capers gave Doc a T for yelling to Rondo. They let the Nets get away with pushing and shoving and hard fouls the entire first half. The Nets shot 17 free throws to 5 for the Celtics in the first half and 3 of those free throws were on technicals. They did better in the second half after the brawl, but the refs' failure to call the game evenly in the first half led to the fight. one win was over the Pacers. The refs let them play in the first half and then started calling more on the Celtics in the second half. The Pacers shot 28 free throws to 18 for the Celtics. Capers also called a flagrant 2 on KG, which resulted in his ejection. The league downgraded the flagrant 2 upon review which shows that it was a bad call. The other win was a 2 point win over the Bulls where the Bulls shot 17 free throws to 12 for the Celtics and they let a lot go both ways. The Heat are 3-1 this season and 9-1 over their last 10 games. He is a "homer ref" with a home W/L record this season of 42-18.
Mark Lindsay has officiated 283 games in his five NBA seasons. Prior to working in the NBA, he worked for five seasons in the NBA Development League, officiating 116 games, including playoff games in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Lindsay received a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education and graduated with honors from West Chester University where he was a three year letterman on the Men's Varsity Basketball team. He later worked as a teacher and a real estate sales agent before joining the NBA. He also officiated in several college conferences, including the ACC, Colonial Athletic Association, Atlantic Sun, Big South and Ohio Valley Conferences. Away from basketball he does motivational speaking engagements for professional groups and youth basketball clinics. He volunteers every summer at referee training camps to help younger officials learn the craft and has consistently been a proud contributor to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
The Celtics are 4-2 this season and 6-4 in their last 10 games with Lindsay making the calls. The first win was a 101-95 win over Chicago where the Bulls shot 31 free throws to 16 for the Celtics and there were more than a few questionable calls. The Second win was in OT over the Mavs where the Celtics shot 30 free throws to 17 for the Mavs and the Celtics got the benefit of a lot of calls. The third win was in OT over Miami where the Celtics shot 27 free throws to 20 for the Heat and the officiating was pretty good. One loss was a 112-100 loss to the Spurs and the officiating was fairly even. The most recent win was over the Pacers where they pretty much let them play but the questionable calls all went against the Celtics. The other loss was to the Cavs where the officiating was terrible, with bad calls going both ways. Tommy had this to say, "I don't remember when there was such a plethora of terrible calls throughout." The Heat are 5-1 this season and 8-2 in in their last 10 with Lindsay. His home W/L record this season is 35-25.
Sean Wright has officiated 406 regular season and nine playoff games in his seven seasons. Prior to joining the NBA, Wright was an official in the NBA Development League, where he participated in the playoffs in 2003-04 and the championship game in 2005. Wright’s collegiate officiating experience includes working in the SEC, Colonial, Big South, Southern, Ohio Valley, Atlantic Sun and Southwestern Athletic Conferences. He participated in the Ohio Valley Conference championship in 2003 and the Men’s NCAA Division II tournament in 2004. He officiated the Eduardo Najera Foundation charity basketball game in 2006 and the Terrell Owens Foundation charity basketball game in 2005.
The Celtics are 0-5 this season and 3-7 in their last 10 with Wright on the court. One win last season was against the Bobcats where they shot a total of 80 free throws between them and they called every little foul all night but called them on both teams. He also called the loss vs Detroit where the Pistons took 46 free throws to just 15 for the Celtics and Tommy Heinsohn called it the worst officiated game of the season. It was Sean Wright that Rondo threw the ball at resulting in his ejection and suspension (which apparently was only suspendable for Rondo since Noah also threw the ball at a ref and got no suspension).
And fast forward to this season where Wright was one of the refs in the Celtics opener against the Heat where once again Rondo was called for a flagrant and a technical after he was completely frustrated by the failure of the refs to call multiple fouls by Wade and Battier against him. In the second game this season, a loss to Philly, Tommy called him an idiot after one particularly bad call. The third loss was against Milwaukee where the Celtics shot 20 free throws to 36 for the Bucks and the officiating was once again terrible with most of the questionable calls going against the Celtics including their failure to call a foul when Ilyasova elbowed Green in the head, injuring Green. They then refused to call a foul when the Celtics tried to intentionally foul to stop the clock. The 4th loss was to the Kings where the Celtics shot 19 free throws to 25 for the Kings but the officiating wasn't bad. The last loss was to the Knicks where NY shot 18 free throws to 22 for the Celtics and the officiating was okay. The Heat are 4-1 this season and 6-4 in their last 10 games with Wright. His home W/L record this season is 37-24.