at Boston Celtics (14-28) at Miami Heat (29-11) Tuesday, January 21, 2014 7:30 PM ET Regular Season Game #43, Road Game #22 TV: CSNNE, SunSpM, NBA-TV Radio: WBZ, WAXY American Airlines Arena Referees: David Jones, Tony Brown, Lauren Holtcamp
The Celtics visit Miami for the second of 3 games this season. The first game between these two teams ended with a Jeff Green corner 3 giving the Celtics a 111-110 victory over the Heat. The Heat surely remember that and will be looking to get some revenge in this game.
The Heat are playing in the second of back to back games, having lost in Atlanta on Monday night. Coming off a loss will give the Heat more incentive to get a win as well. The Celtics can hope that the Heat will be tired from playing back to back, otherwise, this can get very ugly.
The Heat trail Indiana for the top spot in the East by 4 games. It wasn't long ago that the Celtics were 4th in the East but now they find themselves 4th from the bottom, just half a game ahead of the Sixers, who are the 3rd worst team in the East. The Celtics are 1-9 in their last 10 games while the Heat are 5-5 in their last 10. The Celtics have lost their last 2 games while the Heat are hoping to avoid their second straight loss.
Dwyane Wade missed the game in Atlanta with soreness in his knee. He hopes to play in this game but is listed as day to day. If Wade can't play, expect Ray Allen to get the start in his place. Jerryd Bayless injured his toe in the Celtics loss to the Magic and is out for this game and could miss 7-10 days.
The Celtics may use Chris Johnson and Joel Anthony on the floor for the first time in this game. They both certainly could be helpful.
Avery Bradley does as good a job as anyone of hounding Wade and frustrating him. If Wade can't go, Avery will have the pleasure of guarding Ray Allen, which should be fun to watch.
Jeff Green vs LeBron James
Green has had big games against LeBron and has been able to defend him well in the past. I'm sure that LeBron will still have the memory of Green hitting the game winner in his face the last time they met. The Celtics will need the aggressive Jeff Green to show up to have any chance of winning this game.
Rajon Rondo vs Mario Chalmers
Rondo will likely still be on a minutes restriction but, he has made it known that he doesn't much like the Heat and would love to get a win against them.
Keys to the Game Defense
The Celtics defense has been slipping lately and they have been allowing way too many points and easy scoring opportunities. They have to get back to playing tough team defense, especially against a team like Miami that is dangerous from outside and in the paint.
The Heat are dead last in the league in rebounding, pulling down just 36.6 rebounds per game. They are also last in offensive rebounding with 7 per game. The Celtics are doing better on the boards as the go, grabbing 42.7 rebounds per game and 11.3 on the offensive end. Crashing the boards will give the Celtics second chance points as well as keeping the Heat from getting fast breaks and second chance points.
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 for the whole 48 minutes. No letting up.
Run and Take it to the Hoop
The Celtics need to run on every possession. They have the legs to keep it up and not let up as the Heat are playing in back to back games and hopefully will tire out. The Celtics also have to go to the basket and not settle for jumpers. Every game they have offensive droughts when their shots just won't go. When that happens, they have to go inside and not continue to hoist up jumpers.
X-Factors Hunger and Revenge
The Celtics have to be hungry for a win and go all out to get one. The Heat will have their loss from the first meeting between these two teams on their minds and will be looking for revenge. Which factor will be stronger?
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