In the second game of the season the Celtics and the Heat will again face a foe they met in the post season last year. Boston returns to Miami where their season ended in game five of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals coming off a loss to the Knicks in a nail biter. The Heat come back home with reams of confidence after blowing out the Mavericks in a 11 point win that was a 30+ point margin till some serious garbage time heroics by the Mavs.
Similar to Game 5 of the playoff series, the C's are facing an uphill battle due to injury, this time to Paul Pierce who is out tonight with a heel injury. As much as the Celtics will miss his offense they'll miss his ability to credibly defend LeBron James (as much as anyone can) more. Instead LeBron will lick his chops as he sees Sasha Pavlovic, Marquis Daniels, and perhaps Ray Allen guard him much of the night.
Things to watch:
LeBron James, he's the best player in the NBA and we're missing our only true SF who normally guards him most of the game.
Interior Help Defense: the Heat attack the paint and the rim with the talents of Wade, LeBron, and Bosh and the C's big men will have to be quick to contain their drives. Pierce's absence from the line up makes this even more important
Rajon Rondo: He was the best player on the floor for the C's on Christmas Day and he's the one of the few C's with a clear advantage in his match up. He needs have another big game for the C's to win tonight.
PG: Rajon Rondo SG: Ray Allen SF: Sasha Pavlovic PF: Kevin Garnett C: Jermaine O'Neal
Marquis Daniels Brandon Bass Chris Wilcox Keyon Dooling JaJuan Johnson Greg Stiemsma Avery Bradley E'Twaun Moore
Paul Pierce (heel)
PG: Mario Chalmers SG: Dwayne Wade SF: LeBron James PF: Chris Bosh C: Joel Anthony
Udonis Haslem James Jones Shane Battier Norris Cole Mickell Gladness Terrel Harris Juwan Howard Dexter Pittman
Mike Miller (hernia) Eddie Curry (hip flexor)