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Celtics Going for Series Sweep of Heat

(3-0) at (0-3)

Boston Celtics (3-0) at Miami Heat (0-3)
Round 1 Game #4 – Road Game #2
Sunday, April 25, 2010
1:00 PM ET
AmericanAirlines Arena
Today's Referees: Ken Mauer, Bill Kennedy, Greg Willard

The Celtics are in a place that they haven't been in ever since this version of the Big 3 was formed. As it turns out, they are on the verge of doing something that very few Celtics teams have done in their storied history. In 85 total playoff series in the franchise's history, only 4 teams have swept a best of seven playoff series.

While the Celtics will be playing for a chance to rest before the next round, the Heat will be playing for pride. They have little chance of winning 4 in a row and winning the series. 88 times before, teams have gone up 3-0 in a playoff series and 88 times they have gone on to win. No team has ever come back from being down 0-3 to win a playoff series. On the other hand, with the Heat down 3-0, and with Cleveland losing one in Chicago, the Celtics have a perfect opportunity to get some extra rest before round 2 and prove a lot of critics wrong.

Every Celtic is saying the right thing. Pierce is looking at the series as though they are 3-3. No one is taking anything for granted and no one is looking beyond game 4 of this series. They are talking focus and the importance of getting a win in this game. Hopefully it will be more than talk and the team will come out focused on both ends of the court and get the win.

After getting 2 days of rest between the previous 3 games, the Celtics are playing on just one day rest They opted not to practice on Saturday and went through a film session instead. This is also an afternoon game and the Celtics are just 3-4 in afternoon games this season. The Celtics have the Heat on the ropes and it would be a big mistake to give them any confidence that they might be able to win. Dwyane Wade is a dangerous player and if his teammates step up anything can happen. Hopefully the Celtics show that they have a killer instinct and end this series now.

PG: Rajon Rondo SG: Ray Allen
C: Kendrick Perkins
SF: Paul Pierce PF: Kevin Garnett

Probable Starters
PG: Carlos Arroyo SG: Dwyane Wade
C: Jermaine O'Neal
SF: Quentin Richardson PF: Michael Beasley

Key Matchups
Kevin Garnett vs Michael Beasley
Ray Allen had a big game in Game 2. Paul Pierce had a big game in Game 3. Is it Kevin Garnett's turn to have a big game in this one? Michael Beasley showed some life in game 3 and if he has a big game in this one, it may be the boost that the Heat need to win a game in their building. KG's defense will be needed to keep Beasley struggling.

Rajon Rondo vs Carlos Arroyo
As in the first 3 games, the Celtics have their biggest advantage at the PG spot. Rondo has shown that he can out play Arroyo and has been able to hit big shots and get into the paint at will. Rondo needs to continue his aggressive play in game 4 and exploit this matchup. The Heat have struggled to contain him and will more than likely continue to in this game.

Honorable Mention
Paul Pierce vs Quentin Richardson
After the fight in game one, Pierce has done his talking with his game. In game 3, he scored 32 points including the game winner, while holding Richardson to just 5 points. I'm sure another big game from the Captain in a game 4 win would just be the exclamation point on the rivalry between these two players that Pierce would like.

Players to Watch

Kendrick Perkins
Perk struggled with his offense in game 3 but put his focus on the defense and pulled down 12 rebounds, including 4 on the offensive end, and blocked 2 shots. His defense is key in this series. He has literally shut down Jermaine O'Neal to the point where JO is turning to his high school shooting coach for help and Heat fans are calling him Ermaine O'Neal because he has no J. Perk's defense in the paint is crucial to the success of the Celtics.

Dwyane Wade
Even though his supporting cast stepped up quite a bit in game 3, the Heat still need a super human effort from Wade to win. If it wasn't for the cramps in his legs in game 3, the Heat may have pulled out a win. As Wade goes so will go the Heat.

Keys to the Game
Defense The Celtics won the first two games with tough lock down defense, allowing the Heat only 76.5 points per game. The defense slipped a little in game 3, allowing the Heat to score 98 points. Defense is the key to this win as well as Banner 18.

Rebound The Celtics were out rebounded in game 1 but they have out rebounded the Heat in both games 2 and 3. The whole team must make rebounding a priority as winning the rebounding battle is crucial to winning the game and the series.

Play 48 Minutes The Heat are playing for pride in this one. They are going to come out strong and the Celtics have to be ready for it and match it with a strong start of their own. They also can't afford to let up and allow the Heat to gain any confidence that they can win this game.

Ball Movement The Celtics have to keep the ball moving and make the extra pass to find the open man. When the ball sticks and the movement slows, that is when the Celtics struggle with their offense. When they make that extra pass, Miami has a hard time stopping them and the offense runs like a well oiled machine.

Desperation Factor
The Heat are going to be desperate with their backs against the wall. If the Celtics can't match that desperation factor and play like it is a must win then the Heat may just pull this one out.