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Boston Celtics (24-8) at Miami Heat (17-15)
Wednesday, January 6
7:30 PM ET
Game #33, Road Game #18
SunSpM HD, CSN HD, NBA TV 756-757
American Airlines Arena

Referees:    Joe Crawford,   Courtney Kirkland,    Leon Wood

As of this morning, Paul Pierce (knee), Rajon Rondo (hamstring) and Kendrick Perkins (stomach flu or food poisoning) went through the shootaround with the first team and are expected to start tonight.   KG traveled with the team but won't play tonight.  Eddie House is still at home with the flu and will be out also.    With Pierce and Rondo returning after injuries and Perk playing a day after having a stomach flu or food poisoning,  it wouldn't be surprising if their timing is a bit off.   On the other side, Jermaine O'Neal is a game time decision for the Heat.  

The Heat had been slumping,  having lost 3 in a row before Monday night's 92-75 win over the Hawks, so they may be snapping out of it with that win. The Celtics are 11-4 on the road while the Heat are 11-9 at home. The Heat are playing with 1 day off while the Celtics have been off since Sunday.  The Celtics haven't done all that well after a 3 day layoff and with the players coming back from injury, this could get ugly,  or they could respond like they did in the Raptors game and have a strong game.  You'll have to watch to see which team shows up.  


ProbableStarting Matchups
Point Guard
[image] vs [image]
Rajon Rondo vs Carlos Arroyo

Shooting Guard
[image] vs [image]
Ray Allen vs Dwyane Wade

Small Forward
[image] vs [image]
Paul Pierce vs Quintin Richardson

Power Forward
[image] vs [image]
Rasheed Wallace vs Michael Beasley

Center
[image] vs [image]
Kendrick Perkins vs Jermaine O'Neal


Key Matchups
[image] vs[image]
Ray Allen vs Dwyane Wade
Wade is once again in MVP talks and will be tough to cover for the depleted Celtics. Tony should see time guarding Wade to save Ray's energy for the offensive end.

[image] vs[image]
Rasheed Wallace vs Michael Beasley
Michael Beasley is playing very well and is averaging 15.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. He is capable of getting to the hoop if the defense gives him an opening and can also hit the jumper. Sheed needs to come to play defensively and limit Beasley's effectiveness.

Honorable Mention
Kendrick Perkins vs Jermaine O'Neal
This matchup may or may not materialize. O'Neal is listed in their starting lineup in their game notes, but he has been out with a hip injury and is listed day to day. He did not play against the Hawks on Monday night. If O'Neal can't go, look for Joel Anthony to get the starting nod. Perk should be able to get inside and get some easy baskets against either player.


Game Notes
• The C’s are currently leading the season series 1-0; 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 11-8 against Miami since the 2004-05 season
• The Celtics are leading the all-time series 50-35 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, even with all the injuries, 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 on track. They have to avoid the do it myself mentality that they might be tempted to try with the key players out. They did a great job of this in the Raptors game and need to do the same thing in this one.

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. The Heat will take advantage of any let up by the Celtics.
X Factor
Injuries and the Return From Them

With some players coming back from injury, some players out, and Perk recovering from food poisoning,  it's hard to tell how the Celtics will respond.   The Heat may or may not have their starting center back as well.   It's hard to tell how the players and the teams will respond to the injuries and the returns from them.  




[Discuss this topic on the Celtics Green Forums!]

FLCeltsFan 1/06/2010 02:06:00 PM Edit
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One Response so far.

  1. JR says:

    Good news on the Pierce, Rondo, and Perk are playing front.

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