Celtics Face Big Challenge in South Beach

Boston Celtics (0‐1) at Miami Heat (1‐0)
Regular Season Game #2 – Road Game #2
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
8:00 pm ET
Radio: WEEI (850AM)
American Airlines Arena

Officials:   Dan Crawford, Dick Bavetta, Olandis Poole

After their meeting with the Knicks on Sunday, things don't get any easier for the Celtics. They are still on the road and facing the Heat in their home opener. The Heat are coming off a blow out win over the defending champion Mavericks. With the news that Pierce hasn't run full court yet, I don't expect him to play and it could be brutal watching Sasha trying to keep up with LeBron. In the game versus the Knicks, he was matched up with Carmelo Anthony who scored 37 points while Sasha didn't take a single shot. Pietrus could help, but he isn't expected to join the team until Friday. Even at full strength, the Celtics would have their hands full with the Heat, but short handed, it could be a very long night.

Add to the personnel problems the fact that this is the Heat's home opener. The Celtics should have the added motivation to avenge their loss in last season's playoffs but the Heat will be looking to send a message to the league, and especially the Celtics, that they are the team of destiny this season. The Celtics should have an advantage at the point and at center if JO can hold up and play aggressively and possibly at power forward if KG can continue to intimidate Bosh. But, Wade and James will more than likely have their way in this game.

Probable Starting Matchups
Point Guard
Rajon Rondo vs Mario Chalmers

Shooting Guard
Ray Allen vs Dwyane Wade

Small Forward

Sasha Pavlovic vs LeBron James

Power Forward

Kevin Garnett vs Chris Bosh


Jermaine O'Neal vs Joel Anthony

Avery Bradley
Marquis Daniels
Chris Wilcox
Brandon Bass
Keyon Dooling
E'twaun Moore
Greg Stiemsma
JaJuan Johnson


Paul Pierce (heel) day to day
Mickael Pietrus (knee) day to day

Norris Cole
Udonis Haslem
Juwan Howard
Shane Battier
James Jones
Terrel Harris
Dexter Pittman
Mickell Gladness

Eddy Curry  (hip)  out
Mike Miller (hernia)  out
Shane Battier (quad) day to day

Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Mario Chalmers
Rondo started the season aggressively.  In the opener against the Knicks he scored 31 points, pulled down 5 rebounds and dished out 13 assists.   Chambers had 3 points 1 rebound and 4 assists in Miami's opener against Dallas.  If Rondo continues to be aggressive, he should have another big game as Chalmers struggles to contain him. 

Kevin Garnett vs Chris Bosh
Assuming that KG won't be suspended to going after Bill Walker after the Celtics' loss to the Knicks on Sunday,  this could be another key matchup for the Celtics.  Bosh has always been slightly intimidated by KG in the past and we can only hope that this continues because the Celtics will need every advantage they can get in this game. 

Honorable Mention

Jermaine O'Neal vs Joel Anthony
Jermaine has been playing well and should have an advantage over Anthony on both ends of the court.  The Celtics need JO to be aggressive and to dominate Anthony inside. 

Brandon Bass vs Udonis Haslem
The battle of the power forwards off the bench may be a very good one.  In the Celtics opener, Bass had 20 points and 11 rebounds in a very solid effort off the bench.   Haslem had 9 points and 14 rebounds off Miami's bench on Sunday.  This could be a fun battle to watch. 

Keys to the Game
Start strong - The Celtics must get off to a better start than they did against the Knicks.  It takes too much out of them to play catch up most of the game. 

Play 48 Minutes
- If they play well throughout the game, they have to be careful not to let up too soon.  They must play hard right up until the final buzzer because it is certain that the Heat will.

Rebound and Defend - These are keys to every single game.  The team that works harder on the boards and gets stops will be the team that gives themselves a good chance to win.