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First Against Last as Heat Visit the Garden

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 Miami Heat(13-59) at Boston Celtics (57-15)
Sunday, March 30
6:00 PM ET
TV:  NBA LP ch 753, CSN HD, Sun Sports
Game #73, Home Game #38
TD Banknorth Garden

Chat   l   Game Thread    

The Heat come into this game with the worst record in the league. You have to think of the fortunes of these two teams have changed.  Two years ago, the Heat were champions and Antoine Walker was offering Pierce playoff tickets and encouraging him to leave the Celtics if he ever wanted a championship.  The Celtics were out of the playoffs and things weren't looking so good for them at the time.

   Now, fast forward to this season and the Heat are at the bottom and the Celtics are title contenders.  The Heat bench looks more like a D-League roster than the NBA.  There doesn't seem to be much motivation for the Celtics but they do have former Celtics Ricky Davis and Mark Blount returning to the Garden and the memory of them celebrating their win over the Celtics when they were with the Timberwolves to give the Celtics motivation.  

The Heat are just 6-30 on the road and are 2-8 in their last 10 games.  The Celtics are 31-6 at home and 7-3 in their last 10.  The Heat are 6-38 against the Eastern Conference while the Celtics are 32-10 against the East.  The Heat have lost two in a row while the Celtics have won two in a row.  Ricky Davis needs just 18 points to hit 1000 points for the 6th consecutive season. 

The Heat are either tanking for a better draft choice or they have had terrible luck with injuries with 7 on the injured list.  The Celtics really don't have anything more to prove but I expect them to finish the season strong to have momentum going into the playoffs.  I also expect to see the bench get more minutes to give the starters more rest and to give players like Tony, Sam and PJ more confidence going into the playoffs.   

More After the Jump

Probable Starting Matchups
PG:  Rajon Rondo vs Chris Quinn
SG:  Ray Allen vs Daequan Cook
SF:   Paul Pierce vs Ricky Davis
PF:  Kevin Garnett vs Earl Barron
C:   Kendrick Perkins vs Mark Blount  

Key Matchups
Kendrick Perkins vs Mark Blount
Mark Blount is one of the most disliked players in recent Celtics history.  Who can forget him skipping across the floor in the first game after the trade, or the celebration after they beat the Celtics in Minnesota?  Or better yet, who can forget him sulking in Boston and mailing it in?  Blount is now the starting center for Miami and about the only time he comes to play is to try to show up his former team.  Perk needs to play him tough and let him know that we haven't forgotten. 

Paul Pierce vs Ricky Davis
There were rumors of clashes between Paul and Ricky when they were teammates.  I am sure that Ricky's celebration after their win in Minnesota is still fresh in Pierce's mind and he will want to be the one celebrating this time. 

Keys to the Game
1.  Don't play Down to Their Level
2.  Keep Up the Tough Defense
3.  Put Them Away Early


The  Celtics need to motivate themselves to get better with each game and not look to the competition to motivate them.  Hopefully the Celtics will come out strong and put the Heat away early so the starters can get  a lot of rest and the bench can get a lot of  experience.