As Celtics battle for 4th seed in the East, tonight's game is critical

As it sits right now, Boston is tied with Indiana for 4th seed in the Eastern Conference - both teams with 46-32 records. The Celtics win the tie-breaker thus far with a 2-and-1 record versus the Pacers. The teams face each other once again on Friday.

The Celtics square off against the Heat in Miami tonight, and the Heat will be without some of their key players, possibly including Derrick Jones, Jr., Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow and Rodney McGruder. But this is not the time for the guys in green to get complacent. Miami sits as the 8th seed in the East and are determined to make it into the post-season.

For Boston, Al Horford is listed as PROBABLE, and his triple-double against the Heat on Monday clearly shows he needs to be on the court. Ditto for Kyrie Irving. Let these two rest when the 4th seed has been assured. That duo, along with Marcus Smart, seem to set the tone for this team. Even without Victor Oladipo, Indiana is a tough matchup for Boston. Home court may not be vital, but it is important.

The Celtics played the right way against Miami on Monday - with intensity, focus and team play. Hopefully, they can do that again tonight.

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Photo via Omar Rawlings