Wednesday, January 6th, 2010
American Airlines Arena – Miami, FL
7:30 PM ET Tip
The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat are coming into tonights game in very similar situations. Both teams lost 3 games in a row last week, but both made up for it with big big victories as the Heat beat the Hawks on Monday, and the Celtics beat the Raptors on Saturday. Miami comes into tonights game with a record of 17-15 while Boston stands at 24-8. The C’s came out on top the last time these two met back in November, leaving Miami with a 92-85 victory.
Boston Celtics Probable Starters:
PG: SG: SF: PF: C:
This is what we can expect to see on the floor starting tonights game, atleast at this moment in time. Of course, three of these players are still somewhat in question. Rajon Rondo with his hamstring issues, and Paul Pierce with his knee infection, are both expected to be able to participate in tonights game. Kendrick Perkins as well with his sickness that kept him away from the Celtics practice facility yesterday is expected to play.
Miami Heat Probable Starters:
PG: SG: SF: PF: C:
Since the last time we met the Heat, some things to their lineup have changed. Carlos Arroyo has taken the starting job at point, while Mario Chalmers still sees good minutes off the bench. Quentin Richardson has become toe starting Small Forward in replacement of James Jones. Then with what is likely to be a missing Jermaine O’Neal, Joel Anthony is probably going to get the start at Center.
Key Matchup: Rasheed Wallace vs. Michael Beasley
This is the matchup to watch because like I said in this weeks Podcast, Dwayne Wade is going to put up points, he always does and it really doesn’t matter too much who is guarding him. With that being said, the Celtics are going to have to stop a second line of offense. That second strength comes from Michael Beasley. The last time these two teams played Beasley had 18 points, and most of those came at a very valuable time in that game for the Heat. His offense alone kept the Heat close at one point in that game. Rasheed is going to have to be quick on his feet, while respecting the fact that Michael Beasley can hit that jumper. On the offensive end for Rasheed, this is a matchup he can expose by getting into the post and shooting his bank shot.
For the Celtics to win, they will need to do what they do best and that is play team basketball both on offense and defense. Regardless to if Rondo, Perk, or even Pierce play in tonights game, the team will have to do what they did the other night against the Raptors. In Saturday nights game, the Celtics limited their mistakes and out hustled the Raptors to pick up more intangible points.
For the Heat to win, they will need to play stingy defense as they are not a team that puts up too many points. Somehow Miami is going to have to make up for the loss of Jermaine O’Neal’s 13 ppg. I don’t think that will come from their back up centers combined, so other players will have to fill the void, or the Heat will have to limit the Celtics points drastically because they already only average scoring 96 ppg.
Hopefully the Celtics can grab a win tonight before heading into Atlanta for what will be a very difficult road game against the 21-12 Hawks.