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Celtics Begin Road Trip in Miami

(12-4) at (9-6)

Boston Celtics (12-4) at Miami Heat (9-6)
Sunday, November 29
6:00 PM ET
Game #17, Road Game #7
American Airlines Arena

Referees: Bennett Salvatore, Pat Fraher, Haywoode Workman
Game Thread l Chat

The Celtics begin a stretch of 7 of their next 8 games on the road as they take on the Heat in Miami. They are beginning the trip with some momentum as they have won their last 3 games and are coming off one of their best halves of basketball since the start of the season. The Heat are coming off a loss to the Wizards. Both teams are coming off a day of rest, although the Celtics had to travel while the Heat are at home.

The Celtics are 5-1 on the road with their lone loss coming in Indiana. But 4 of those wins came against teams that are already jockeying for lottery position (Knicks, Nets, Wolves, and Sixers). The only win on the road vs a contender was the opening night win in Cleveland. The Heat haven't been exactly tearing it up at home, though, with a 6-4 home record.

We can only hope that the defense that the Celtics played in the second half of Friday's game against the Raptors is a sign of things to come. They have allowed teams to hit 100 points in each of its last three after letting just two of its first 13 opponents get to 100 points. But we saw a return to the lock down defense that we saw early in the second half of Friday's game as they limited the Raptors to just 17 third quarter points. In order to win on this road trip they need to build on that and continue to put a premium on defense.

ProbableStarting Matchups
Point Guard
Rajon Rondo vs Mario Chalmers

Shooting Guard
Ray Allen vs Dwyane Wade

Small Forward
Paul Pierce vs James Jones

Power Forward
Kevin Garnett vs Michael Beasley

Kendrick Perkins vs Jermaine O'Neal

Key Matchups
Ray Allen vs Dwyane Wade
Wade has been playing great basketball. He will definitely make Ray work on the defensive end and thus limit Ray's energy on the offensive end. At first it was thought that Ray would miss this game because his son was hospitalized. But he joined the team and is expected to play. If Wade starts to get hot, I imagine that we will see Pierce defending him as well.

Kendrick Perkins vs Jermaine O'Neal
O'Neal likes to shoot from the perimeter and is a tough cover for Perk, but at the same time, Perk should get some easy baskets inside with JO covering him.

Game Notes
• Celtics won the season series 3-1 against Miami in 2008-09
• Ray Allen led the Celtics with 25.0 points per game last season in three games played against Miami
• Dwyane Wade led the Heat with an average of 29.3 points per game against the C’s last season
• The Celtics are 10-8 against Miami since the 2004-05 season
• The Celtics are leading the all-time series 49-35 with the Celtics 26-15 at home

Keys to the Game

Defense We saw in the last game that when the Celtics buckle down on defense it is hard for any team to stay with them. They need to continue to make defense a priority.

Rebound The Celtics need to crash the boards to prevent the Heat from getting second chance baskets and also to be limit the fast break opportunities on missed baskets.

Run the Offense

When the Celtics move the ball, make the extra pass and find the open man, the offense is very good. They have to avoid the do it myself mentality that they get at times. They also need to avoid going back to shooting a lot of quick threes.

Be Aggressive
The Celtics need to be aggressive on both ends of the court. They have to come out strong and keep the pressure on throughout the game. They need to be aggressive taking the ball to the basket and they also need to be aggressive on defense.

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