The Rivalry Continues: Boston Celtics @ Miami Heat preview

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The Playoffs are almost here, just 4 more regular season games to go! I know it’s hard not to think ahead and get excited about a possible round 1 match up against the Knicks, but there is still a very important game to focus on:

Boston versus Miami. Let’s take a look.

Stat check: The Heat have clinched the #1 seed of the Eastern Conference and are currently 62-16.

Game time: April 13th 2013, 0930hrs AEST

Watch it on: NBA League Pass

Roster changes:

  1. Rajon Rondo (ACL) and Jared Sullinger (back) are out for the season. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will travel with the team, but will not be playing.
  2. Miami have been ‘resting’ their stars lately. It is hard to tell who will play with Dwyane Wade (sprained ankle), LeBron James (hamstring), Udonis Haslem (ankle) and Chris Bosh (knee) all listed as day-to-day.

Top enemy performers:

  1. Scoring: LeBron James (26.9)
  2. Rebounds: LeBron James (8.1)
  3. Assists: LeBron James (7.2)

Keys to the game:

  1. Containing LeBron. There is no certainty that LeBron James will play. If he does, he is obviously the one to watch out for. As Boston fans, we all know how much damage LeBron can do on any given night. It is almost impossible to completely stop him, so the focus should be to try to contain him. Jeff Green is the main key to doing that. Green can play tight defence on him and also keep him very honest by playing his own game offensively (I’m sure we all remember Green scoring 43 points in his last outing against the Heat). Of course Green can’t be the only one held accountable for James, it will need to be a team effort.
  2. Shavlik Randolph in the paint. With KG and Paul Pierce out, others will need to pick up the rebounding. Celtic fans have fallen in love with Randolph, mainly because he is just a hard worker who doesn’t give up. If someone told me at the start of this season that we would be relying so heavily on a guy called Shavlik, I would’ve laughed in their faces. But that’s just how the season has gone; up, down, up, down and hopefully up again. Randolph can definitely rebound and not just on the defensive end, his offensive rebounds have led to many second chance scoring opportunities.
  3. Competing. As far as losses go, I can handle losses to the likes of Miami when Pierce and KG are out. But only if the team shows energy, enthusiasm and compete to the best of their abilities. Heading into the Playoffs I want to see who can stand up and battle with all their heart. We already know that Pierce and KG can do this, it’s up to the newcomers to show what they are made of.

This match is going to be far from easy. Every time the C’s meet the Heat, both teams rise to the occasion. Of course we all want the win, but it is going to be tough if Miami are at full strength.

BEAT THE HEAT!

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