Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
TD Garden – Boston, MA
8:00 PM ET Tip
View on: ESPN
The Boston Celtics come into tonights game off a much needed 99-88 victory over the Washington Wizards. For the three games before that, they just couldn’t seem to get over the hump. Now that their extremely difficult 4 games in 5 nights is finished with, they can get back to a normal routine before the all star break. As for the Heat, they have lost 2 in a row against the Bucks, and 4 of their last 5. Both teams are reeling and looking to find some steady ground to walk upon. The C’s need to improve upon their 30-16 record to hang out around 2nd place in the East, while the 24-24 Heat want to hold on to their spot around the 8th seed in the East.
So far on the season, the Celtics have played 2 games in Miami, and won both. By no means were either of these games easy victories as the C’s won the overtime thriller in January, and by 7 back in November. As we can remember it took an amazing lob pass by Paul Pierce to Rondo with under a second on the game clock to push that game into overtime.
What scares me about this team is that when playing them, they will either play outstanding basketball, or play like the New Jersey Nets. In most cases they end up either demolishing their opponent, or getting demolished. This makes it tough when looking at tonights game, as to which Heat team is going to show up?
Key matchup: Dwyane Wade vs. Celtics Help Defense
If there is one thing teams need to stop to win against Miami, it is allowing Wade to get in near the rim. He is a good jump shooter, but not great. He can certainly make threes from time to time, but his percentages are not that great. Ray will be guarding him for the most part tonight, and the last time these two squared off Wade put in 44. He did so on an extreme amount of shots, though, so you can’t really blame it on Ray. I think a lot of players if they took 34 FG attempts, 7 of which were 3′s, and 16 free throws, would probably score quite a few points. The team can not depend on Ray to stay in front of the very quick Dwyane Wade all night, however. This is where the Celtics finally started coming through in the 4th quarter against the Wizards, and played great help defense. Simply make him try and score 30+ from shooting jump shots, and the Celtics have a very good chance at winning this game.
Tonight is a key night for the Celtics. If they can grab a win tonight without Pierce, that would be huge because Friday night they play the lonely Nets. They can easily beat the Nets without Pierce, but tonight could be a struggle. Win tonight, win Friday, then hopefully we can see Pierce back for the game against Orlando on Sunday. If they don’t take tonights game, it turns Orlando into more of a “must win” circumstance and we don’t want that.
(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)