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Game #33/82: Celtics (24-8) @ Heat (17-15)

 

pierceBoston at Miami
7:30 p.m. EST
American Airlines Arena
Local TV/Radio: CSN/WEEI

Opposing viewpoint: Hot Hot Hoops

Offensive Efficiency:

Boston: 108.9 points/100 possessions (10th)

Miami: 106.4 points/100 possessions (17th)

Defensive Efficiency:

Boston: 100.5 points allowed/100 possessions (1st)

Miami: 105.8 points allowed/100 possessions (12th)

Probable Miami Starters:

Dwayne Wade, Michael Beasley, Carlos Arroyo, Joel Anthony, Quentin Richardson

Injury Report

Miami: OUT: Jermaine O’Neal

Boston: OUT: Marquis Daniels, Eddie House, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins PROBABLE: Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo

Tune in folks! It’ll be an epic battle between the walking wounded and the running wounded.  The Heat are without starting center and number2/3 option Jermaine O’Neal and the C’s are missing half their team due to injury and the flu.  In battle of injured teams, it is usually the less injured team that comes out on top.  Still, I have faith.  Let me explain why…

WHAT THE HEAT DO WELL:

Rebound

The Heat have some players that can rebound the basketball at every position.  Udonis Haslem is a beast on the glass, Q-Rich is used to using his wide body to carve out space, Beasley’s no stranger to window washing, and grabbing boards is just one column on the stat sheet Wade fills up.

With KG out and Perkins, Davis, and Rondo limited, look for the C’s to get absolutely annihilated on the boards.

Play Well in Spurts

I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but they do it.  Sometimes it works to their advantage, like the game against Atlanta, and sometimes it leaves them on the outs with the win column.  Unfortunately, the C’s maybe catching a Miami team licking its chops at the thought of giving the C’s their ninth loss.  Or, the Heat could come in to this game riding high on an impressive win against Atlanta and their young guys with focus issues could lose it and take this game off.  I’m hoping for the latter, but can’t count out the former.

WHAT THE HEAT DO POORLY

Offense

Even with the addition of Quentin Richardson, the Heat are only average at best at scoring the basketball.  They rely heavily on Dwayne Wade and players they think are good three point shooters.   I’ll get to this later, but it really boggles my mind to try and rationalize why DaeQuan Cook gets playing time.  If someone can answer that for me, I’m all ears.

PLAYERS WHO MAKES ME WORRY

Dwayne Wade

I won’t waste each other’s time with a drawn out explanation of why I fear Dwayne Wade.  However, I will say that he can score from anywhere on the floor despite his outside shooting being down this year.  The best any C’s fan can hope for is that he’ll be the only one scoring.
Michael Beasley

I only fear him because I’m not completely sold on Big Baby’s ability to guard him; especially with a bum ankle.  I fear his adeptness around the basket and his ability to finish around the rim with both hands.  I do not fear his outside shot and I refuse to acknowledge any of his makes from beyond the arc.    If I had my druthers, I’d have Beasley jacking outside shots all game.

PLAYERS WHO DO NOT MAKE ME WORRY

DeQuan Cook

I’m still trying to figure out why this guy gets a pay check.  He is supposedly an exlusive long-range shooter, yet he’s shooting just 30% from beyond the arc this season.  To put that number in perspective, I’ll reference the C’s own Eddie House.  By his standards, House is having a down year shooting the rock so far, and he’s still shooting 38%.  Last year, he shot 44% to Cook’s 36%.  Cook is  just plain bad.  Anyway you slice it.

Joel Anthony

Anthony is a big athletic body with not much else in terms of discernable skill.  He’s been thrust into the starting lineup due to Jermaine O’Neal’s injury and that is not a good thing for Heat fans.  As an energy guy with six fouls off the bench, Anthony is serviceable.  As a starter…ugh.

WHAT WE WANT TO SEE FROM THE C’S TONIGHT

Health…and let’s keep it that way.

Doc’s taking a big gamble tonight should he play Rondo and Pierce.  It’s not a mystery that the fate of this team resides in the tenuous sinews of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Rajon Rondo.  With Kendrick Perkins potentially not being at full strength, I really don’t want to see Doc try and overplay Pierce and Rondo.  It’s a meaningless game- unless someone gets hurt.  Here’s hoping the C’s take another flyer on some of younger guys, it can’t hurt.
PREDICTION

As I wrote before, in a battle of injured teams, it’s usually the less injured team that comes away with a win.  I’m not so sure how many minutes Pierce, Perk’ and Rondo are going to play and ditto for their effectiveness.  If I were Doc, which I will never be, I’m starting Pierce and Rondo the first three minutes of the game and taking them right out no matter the score or situation.  After that, the C’s trainers can figure out if and when they return to the game.  J.R. Giddens can guard Q-Rich, so why not let him?

Conventional wisdom says the Heat come out with a win, but like an unconventional oven (one that cools Heat perhaps?) I’m going to have to say C’s get the W- and perhaps a tan if their lucky.  Celtics in a dog fight, 105, Heat 103.

  • nowayout

    Boston Globe reports….Kevin Garnett (right knee) was with the team but Rivers said he could be out “another week or two weeks. I haven’t asked.” Garnett was not on the court when the media was allowed into shootaround and he was not available for comment.

    Deja vu anyone?

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    THink happy thoughts! New Year’s resolution.

  • nowayout

    Thanks for the advice. I’m just scared to death :)

  • Brendan Jackson

    Zach, you took the words right out of my mouth (keys right off my fingers?).

  • Cptn Bubbles

    Maybe it’s because they are a youngerish team, but many of the Heat players seem to be more sensitive to aggressive, smothering D & get into panic / bad decision mode. D Wade is going to score, but I sure don’t want him around the rim if he misses so make him take 99% jumpers from distance & box him out. It has been proven time and again that you can let D Wade score his 30 or 40 & still beat the Heat by shutting everyone else down, not giving them 2nd shots, make them take contested jumpers. I think Wade could score fitty & if the rest of the Heaties get in voyeur watch mode you can much more easily beat them.

    I was really excited to watch the Rap game. I’ve been so curious about the full bench. I wish Doc would give us 10 min of Lester. I would also like to see 5+ min of Billy. The only disappointment from the Rap game was not seeing Billy get some real minutes. Give the kid a chance! If I were Shelden I’d be really confused about my minutes. It seems like it is all preordained regardless of court play which can dangerously lead to, ‘why play harder when I’m just gonna get yanked despite my effort.’ The only hope Shelden has is if he plays lights out defense & rebounds the ball. He could be 10-10 on offense, but he would still get yanked. If Baby keeps getting OFFENSIVE Boards then Shelden should probably just grab a clipboard.

    I’m hoping that Doc has a dream in which he leaves guys who are not tired & playing well out on the floor, regardless of jersey number, minutes or rotation laws, and in the dream they win again & again & again & Doc gets a gold statue & a ticker tape parade plus coach of the decade b/c he was so flexible, creative, willing to experiment with different combinations leaving guys out on the floor who were playing well instead of trying to micro manage minutes.

  • Chris

    Though I haven’t been keeping exact count, I feel like you have a tendency place the Celtics on the winning end of most of your ‘close game’ predictions…heh.

    Granted, they’re usually the better team…I just question the objectivity ;P.

  • jason

    Beasley has been playing well lately; I think O’Neal being out actually frees hom up a little. He will probably give you guys problems again tonight. Good luck!

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    The one time I predicted the C’s would lose (Christmas) they won.

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