Celtics Host the Heat with Crawford and Bavetta as Refs

Miami Heat (37-13) at Boston Celtics (29-22)
Sunday, April 1
3:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #52,  Home Game #27
Radio:  WEEI, ESPN Radio, WAXY
TD Garden
Referees:  Joe Crawford,  Dick Bavetta,  Scott Wall

This is the second meeting this season between these two teams.  Their first meeting was the second game of the season and the Heat won it 115-107.  Paul Pierce and Mickael Pietrus were both out in that game and
Sasha Pavlovic started in place of Paul Pierce.  Greg Stiemsma had yet to make his way into the lineup and Avery Bradley played just 3 minutes in mop up. 

Ray Allen has been close to coming back for the past 3 games.  He traveled with the team to Minnesota and has participated in the last 3 shoot arounds but just didn't feel ready for the game.  Once again he'll be a game time decision for the Celtics.   We probably won't know till game time whether Ray or Avery will be starting for the Celtics.  The only Heat injury is Mike Miller.

These two teams will meet twice more in April, once more on each court.  The Heat are fairly safely entrenched in second place in the East,  3.5 games behind Chicago and 6 games ahead of Orlando for the 3rd seed.  The Celtics are still battling for position.  They now sit 4th in the East, 1 game ahead of Philly and would drop back to 7th should they lose their lead in the Atlantic division.  They are also 1 game behind Atlanta for the 6th seed and 3.5 games ahead of New York for 8th.  Every game for the Celtics has playoff implications and the Celtics have got to show up for every one. 

Both teams are known for their tough defense.  The Celtics rank a little higher on defense, but the Heat are also ranked 3rd in scoring, which makes the Celtics defense even more important.    The Celtics have to be aggressive on both ends of the court and they have to play like they want it more.  This game will go a long way toward showing that they are indeed building toward the playoffs. 

Probable Starting Matchups

Point Guard:  Rajon Rondo vs Mario Chalmers

Shooting Guard:  Ray Allen vs Dwyane Wade

Small Forward:  Paul Pierce vs LeBron James


Power Forward:  Brandon Bass vs Chris Bosh

Center:  Kevin Garnett vs Joel Anthony 


Boston Reserves
Greg Stiemsma
Avery Bradley
Ryan Hollins
Sasha Pavlovic
Keyon Dooling
Marquis Daniels
JaJuan Johnson
E'Twaun Moore

Ray Allen (ankle) game time decision
Greg Stiemsma (feet,thumb) will play
Jermaine O'Neal (wrist) out 
Mickael Pietrus (concussion)  out 

Miami's Reserves
Shane Battier
Ronny Turiaf
Terrel Harris
Norris Cole
Eddie Curry
Juwan Howard
James Jones
Dexter Pittman
Udonis Haslem


Mike Miller (ankle)  out 

Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Mario Chalmers 
Rondo has been playing some of his best basketball in recent games. He definitely has the upper hand in this matchup.   Chalmers can hit big 3 pointers and so Rondo will have to stay on him on the perimeter. 

Kevin Garnett vs Joel Anthony
KG has the upper hand in this matchup as well.  He has been playing like it's 2008 in recent games and hopefully he continues that in this game.  He should have a big game if he remains focused and motivated. 

Honorable Mention
Paul Pierce vs LeBron James
Ray Allen (or Avery Bradley) vs Dwyane Wade
Brandon Bass vs Chris Bosh
The key matchups are going to be at the positions other than Miami's 3 stars.  Pierce and James play each other very well.  Avery would be better defensively on Wade but Ray would make Wade have to work harder on the defensive end.  And Bass should be able to handle Bosh, especially after KG growls at him a couple of times.  The Heat's weakest spots are now the Celtics strongest at PG with Rondo and at center with KG and that will be key for the Celtics. 

Keys to the Game

Take Care of the Ball - The Celtics must limit their turnovers as the Heat will turn them into fast break points.  Wade in particular is good at making teams pay for their turnovers.  The Celtics had 24 turnovers in the first meeting between these two teams.  They need to take care of the ball and avoid costly turnovers. 

Rebound - The Celtics have to limit the Heat's second chance baskets and fast breaks by crashing the boards.  The amount of effort put into winning the rebound battle often follows through to the other areas of the game.  In their first meeting the Celtics were out rebounded by 10.  They have to put out more effort on the boards and rebound as a team. 

Defense -  Both teams are good defensive teams.  The Celtics are 3rd in the league holding teams to 90.18 points while the Heat are 6th, holding teams to 93.8 points per game.  The Celtics keep opponents to 42% (2nd) while the Heat are 4th, keeping teams at 43%.   The Heat are 3rd in the league in scoring at 101.3 and shoot 48% while the Celtics are 27th scoring 91.6 points on 46% shooting (5th).  The Celtics won't win a shoot out so they have to turn up their defense if they want to get this win. 

Be Aggressive -  The Celtics must be the more aggressive team.  They can't settle for jumpers but have to drive to the hoop and either kick it to an open teammate, draw the foul or get the score.  They also have to be the more aggressive team on defense, grabbing rebounds and going after loose balls.  They have to play like they want it more. 

Team Ball -  The Celtics need to play team ball.  When they move the ball and make the extra pass and find the open man and play as a team,  they are tough to beat.  When they revert to hero ball and there is little ball movement and they settle for quick shots, they rarely win.  Rondo is a big part of keeping the ball moving and setting up the offense and he he has been doing this in the Celtics recent win streak.  They have to play team ball, run the offense, and make the Heat play defense. 

Bench Play - The Celtics bench has been depleted by injuries.  Bass has moved into the starting lineup.  Avery may very well still be starting if Ray still can't go.  Pietrus is out.  Wilcox is out.  O'Neal is out.  The Celtics have a very short rotation and need to get quality play the subs to give the starters a rest.  The Heat's bench got much better with the signing of Turiaf and Battier is another player who gives them a boost off the bench.  The Celtics need their reserves to play well. 

Official Report
Joey Crawford
Over more than three decades in the NBA, Joe Crawford has officiated 2,402 regular season and 278 playoff games, including 46 NBA Finals games. Crawford’s 278 playoff and 46 NBA Finals games are the most among active NBA officials. Over his career, Crawford has officiated the 1986, 1992 and 2000 NBA All-Star Games, as well as the
1993 McDonald’s Championship in Munich, Germany. There is no shortage of controversy surrounding Joey Crawford, the biggest of which was a suspension for tossing Tim Duncan for laughing on the bench and then challenging him to a fight. He is known for his quickness to call technical fouls but also doesn't tend to be influenced by the home crowd as much as many younger refs seem to be. In the 2008 Playoffs, Crawford was chosen to officiate Game 4 of the Western Conference final between the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers. In the closing seconds of the game, there was a no-call where the Spurs' Brent Barry was unquestionably fouled by Derek Fisher. Crawford was the closest official to the call, and the NBA later apologized for the lack of a call. Crawford was also one of the refs who was involved in the income tax evasion convictions and was suspended at that time as well. And in the Suns 2010 first round against the Blazers, Crawford made what was possibly the worst call of all time But don't just believe me, watch it for yourself.

This is the Celtics 5th game with Crawford this season. He officiated the Christmas day loss to the Knicks, third Wizards game, and the win over the Cavs, all of which were called fairly evenly. He also called the Lakers game in LA where the Celtics shot 12 free throws to 26 for the Lakers and they let the Lakers get away with a lot of contact the entire game. The Celtics not so much. The Celtics are 2-2 this season and 7-3 in their last 10 games with Crawford. The Lakers are 2-0 this season and 7-3 in their last 10. His home W/L record this season is 19-19.

Dick Bavetta
Dick Bavetta was born December 10, 1939 and is currently a referee in the NBA. During the 2003-04 NBA season, Dick Bavetta officiated his 2,000th career NBA game, becoming only the sixth official (joining Jake O’Donnell, Earl Strom, Tommy Nunez, Joe Crawford and Jack Niess) in NBA history to reach that milestone. Throughout his career, he has never missed an assigned game, officiating 2,498 regular season and 257 playoff games, including 25 NBA Finals games. He was a member of the crew that worked the 1989, 1995 and 2007 NBA All-Star Games, 1997 McDonald’s Championship in Paris, 1993 Mexico Challenge, 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona and 1990 Japan Games in Tokyo. Prior to joining the NBA, Bavetta was an official with the Eastern League (CBA) for nine years, and he has also officiated in the Rucker League, FIBA, Jersey Shore Basketball League, as well as both the Public and Catholic High School leagues in New York City. There is no shortage of controversy surrounding Bavetta. He was singled out in Tim Donaghy's book for being a "company man" and carrying out league agendas in games. Bavetta also likes to keep games close and will often make a lot of calls against a team that pulls out to a lead to keep the game more exciting. After watching a game where Bavetta has officiated, it's very easy to believe Donaghy's claims. He was left off the playoff roster last season and there were rumors of a forced retirement but here he is back again for another season. In his off time, Bavetta doubles as the Crypt Keeper. The Celtics are 1-1 this season and 6-4 in their last 10 games with Bavetta on the court. The loss this season was in Miami where the Heat shot 37 free throws to 25 for the Celtics. (Is there a reason we get Bavetta for BOTH Miami games this season?) The win was vs the Bucks where Milwaukee shot 20 free throws to just 10 for the Celtics. The Heat are 3-0 this season and 7-3 in their last 10 games with Bavetta. His home W/L record is 21-16.

Scott Wall
The son of former USA Basketball Director Bill Wall, Scott Wall has officiated
908 regular season games and five playoff games over his past 16 NBA seasons. In addition to his NBA experience, Wall has four years of officiating experience for
USA Basketball, four years of collegiate officiating experience in the Atlantic Coast, Ohio Valley, and Trans America Athletic Conferences, and five years of high school officiating experience in Kansas and Alabama. He lives in Merritt Island, Florida. The Celtics are 0-2 this season and 5-5 in their last 10 games with Wall. In the two losses the Celtics shot 25 free throws to 34 for their opponents. In the loss to the Cavs, the Celtics were down 1 with the ball and they refused to call a very obvious foul against Paul Pierce. The Heat are 1-3 this season and 5-5 in their last 10 games with Wall on the court. His home W/L record this season is 23-9

Home Court and Officials
The Celtics will be at home and hopefully their crowd will be loud and give them a boost.  The Heat have struggled recently on the road and we can only hope that they continue to do so.   The Heat tend to get a lot of calls their way.  Hopefully the officiating will be fair in this one but that's a lot to hope for with not 1 but  2 of the worst refs in the league calling the game.