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Game 53/82: Heat (39-14) @ Celtics (38-14) Open Thread

 


Miami at Boston
1 P.M. ET
TD Garden
CSNNE/ABC

Offensive Efficiency:

Boston: 105.4 points/100 possessions (t-12th)

Miami: 109.1 points/100 possessions (4th)

Defensive Efficiency:

Boston: 97.7 points allowed/100 possessions (2nd)

Miami: 99.7 points allowed/100 possessions (4th)

Probable Miami Starters: Almario Vernard Chalmers (PG), Dwyane Wade (SG), LeBron Raymond James (SF), Christopher Wesson Bosh (PF), Joel Anthony (C)

View from the Opposing Bench: The Heat Index

One gets the feeling, lazily taking the pulse of Celtics fandom around the Internet, that the Heat are about the last team we want to see right now. The C’s are as beat up as they’ve ever been, and coming off of a string of games against high quality teams. They need a break, from serious competition and from national media attention. Thankfully, some of them will get just that at the end of this week. But until then, we’ve got to deal with a bunch of arrogant jerks in peacoats who happen to have formed an extremely good basketball team.

The Heat are on an eight-game strizzle, but six of those games have been against losing teams the Heat should be beating anyway. The two respectable teams in the mix, Oklahoma City and Orlando, only lost by six and four respectively. Detroit went down by only one point. Yes, it’s a streak, but it’s a lucky streak.

The C’s, meanwhile, are in what is becoming a full-on swoon with losses in three of their last four. They’re now shorthanded at center, small forward, and essentially both guard positions if Nate Robinson is out. But the losses have all been close: the C’s led each of them in the third quarter and never fell by more than six. And you know how bad they want this one. They want it so, so bad.

Since we’ve done two previews of the Heat already, and you know what they do, let’s focus on how they performed in the two games they played against Boston a million years ago. The C’s won the first 88-80 and the second 112-107.

WHAT THE HEAT DID WELL

Possess LeBron James. LeBron’s averaging 33 points, 12.5 free throws, 7 boards, and six assists against Boston this season. He’s kept the Heat in games by hurling himself at the rim over and over again, willing points onto the board. He’s MVP right now. If nothing else is working for the Heat, you can be pretty sure than LeBron will be.

Defend between the rim and the arc. Discounting Paul Pierce’s 5-5 night from 10 to 15 feet in the second game, the Heat were stingy in the three midrange zones. But since then, they’ve actually developed their defense around preventing higher-percentage shots: they’re now the best team in basketball at protecting the hoop. Credit Joel Anthony, but James is about as much of a factor here as anyone else on the team.

WHAT THE HEAT DID POORLY

Prevent the three. A major factor in the last two Heat games was the Celtics shooting the 3-ball out of their collective gourds, a factor which might not bode well for continued success in this game. The C’s shot 17 for 32, a success rate of 53%, well above their normal percentage and at a higher volume. The Heat have become the second-best team in the league at defending the three by shooting percentage, so it’s unlikely that the C’s will win on this front again.

Possess Dwyane Wade. Wade was 6 for 28 in his these games. That’s 21 percent. 1 of 8 from 3. 50 percent from the line. Twelve turnovers. There may not be a player, accounting for the effect of the high usage he’s gotten, who’s performed worse against a team than Dwyane Wade has against Boston this season. Still, those numbers are probably more the result of Wade’s early-season bugaboo than Boston’s defense. Don’t count on a night like that tonight, but certainly feel free to hope for one.

Introduce their players with any dignity whatsoever.

I honestly feel like not enough has been said about this intro video. I feel duty bound to post it again.

Here are some of the things that are in that video introduction for an NBA basketball team:
-Cardigans
-Leather-padded walls
-Vests
-Jamaal Magloire
-People adjusting their tie knots
-Almost overwhelming smugness
-Pocket squares
-Jerry Stackhouse
-Everyone turning slowly toward the camera like they’re in some kind of soap opera intro.
-About eight scarves

Here are some of the things that are not:
-Anyone playing basketball

PLAYERS WHO MAKE ME WORRY

This farting menace:

Eddie House, Mike Miller, and James Jones. There may be no fact in basketball more annoying than this, but Heat games are swung by how well these three guys are shooting. When James and Wade draw defenders, these guys get open looks, and sometimes all there is for the opposition to do it wait to see if they fall. Unfortunately, they’ve been falling.

PLAYERS WHO DO NOT MAKE ME WORRY

The point guards and centers. No reason to put Bosh or Wade in this section to be controversial at the cost of sanity. Really, you can still get to this Miami team by attacking these two positions on offense and forcing them to get touches on defense. They’re still the worst in basketball at both of these positions, as I wrote about in my first CelticsHub post ever. Carlos Arroyo, opening night starter, is now growing roots on the bench, but Eddie House is the new backup to Mario Chalmers, and we’re all too familiar with Eddie House’s ability to run an offense/play defense. As it stands, the job of the people playing these positions for the Heat is too disappear while the other three go to work.

WHAT WE WANT TO SEE TONIGHT:

James and Wade have really concentrated their attack on the rim in their last few games. We want to see the Celtics send them back without getting into foul trouble. We want them to attack the Heat’s weak points on defense. And we don’t want the shooting performances of Eddie House, Mike Miller, or James Jones to decide this game.

PREDICTION:

I don’t think they’ve got the legs. Hope I’m wrong. Heat 99, C’s 94.

  • Far East Man

    Got no date this stupid Valentine's Day. Fuck it! The celts better win to compensate for that!!

  • Tom W

    I will say this about that video: as awful as it is, Z looks like a freakin mobster in that suit. He looked fantastic.

    • Batman

      I thought I was crazy. I thought I was the only one who thought Big Z looked like the biggest boss ever. If i could thumb up ur comment forever, i would

  • celticfan

    got a feeling the C's are going to get their butts beat. most of our guys are out.i sure hope i am wrong. they come out strong but by 3rd quarter they are whiped. come on boys don't let the heat beat you today.

  • I_Love_Green

    Lets just keep it close today. Who knows, Rondo may have one of those days.

    • Robert

      Yep. As it says in the preview, Rondo really needs to abuse whoever is playing the 1 for Miami for the Celts to have a fighting chance.

  • Rob

    Flashback performance by the real big three. Ray goes for 4+ threes, Paul goes for a near triple double and KG nearly goes for 20 20. Rondo gets a double double we win by 7.

  • XRIPX

    Is anyone else worried that wade will shift on to rondo? He's their best guard defender + he'll save his legs not having to chase allen all game…

  • JP-

    So far in this game… horrible shooting by the Celtics, down 4. The fans are not relentlessly booing LeBron, I hope all of the things I mentioned change quickly.

    • JP-

      Love what Perk is doing by the way

  • Batman

    BIG BABY AAAAH

  • hdavenport

    Both teams starting to run a little bit…

  • I_Love_Green

    Some really really really bad defense to end the 2nd quarter. Too many easy buckets for the heat, and bad offense for us.

    I have one MAJOR complaint. Why are we not feeding the ball to KG or Baby in the post!?!? Bosh cannot guard Kevin in the post, nor can he guard Baby. If they go Bosh + Dampier we gotta put KG and Baby in the post and just feed them the ball the whole time. Oh, and Von needs more playing time. The guy is playing really well right now. Other than that our guys just aren't hitting their shots, especially Pierce.

    • Ryan DeGama

      Good point about the post offense. Perk had more touches than KG close to the basket.

      Also, Pierce defending Lebron sends his offense into the tank.

    • Mike

      Yep I really don't get why they don't go inside more especially when Pierce keeps trying to shoot and is 0-7 instead he should be slashing like he did in LA.
      (And …. please Nate try to not shoot transition 3s with 2 teammates open….)

  • stephen

    Anybody else out there getting a little bugged with how selfishly Paul Pierce seems to be playing–Forceing shots, not playing defense. If he doesn't get his head out of his ass and play a much better second half no way we win this game. C'mon Truth—Start leading your damn team!!!!!

    • JP-

      he needs to focus on defense, not force shots. He has had some open shots where he just flat out missed, could be effets from the flu. Hopefully he plays better.

  • Batman

    Rondo and Von Wafer are masters of the Eurostep

  • JP-

    I LOVE WHAT KG JUST DID, COULDN'T BE MORE PROUD

    • Batman

      WHO CARES ABOUT ILLEGAL SCREEENS
      WE DON'T

  • stephen

    I gotta tell you—That was a clean screen KG set, however Wade getting a flagrant for reacting and coming to the aid of a teammate–Hell KG would do the same thing. David Stern is turning this league into a bunch of wussies. Let the teams battle it out!!!

    • Batman

      Dude
      come on
      He dropped his shoulder

  • mugi

    epic screen haha

  • stephen

    If the bench can somehow come up with some decent minutes here they can win this.If not, will the starters have enough in the tank to finish?

  • stephen

    First 3 minutes of the final frame are critical. C'mon C's, close this baby out!!!!

  • kricky

    I don't think even Tommy can complain about the officiating today..

    Gutty performance thus far by our Cs.

  • stephen

    Offense is starting to stagnate again. Need 3 or 4 strong minutes here and then the Defense can carry us the rest of the way!!!!

  • stephen

    Their Blowing it. Again!!!!

  • hdavenport

    Cause for concern that Pierce might start forcing a lot of shots at the end here?

  • stephen

    The C's are setting themselves up for a heartbreaking game winning 3 by the Heat. Man I have never wanted to be more wrong!!!

  • stephen

    C's have to score here.Set a strong screen for Ray!!! Please Pierce—Don't Shoot

  • stephen

    What was I saying about a game winning 3? Rondo shooting a jumper? Are they paying the C's off to blow these games?

  • hdavenport

    What a game!!!! Let's all go throw up from anxiety.

  • someguyinsac

    I'm happy to be able to say that "even with one hand tied behind our backs because of injuries, we still own the Heat"!

  • hdavenport

    Man, Miller really got a SPECTACULAR look there.

  • kricky

    Great win with a depleted front line and the Cpt'n scoring only 1 pt. What a gutty effort!

    I love this team!

    • hdavenport

      Yeah, this was really fun in retrospect. Amazing, inspiring defensive effort.

  • I_Love_Green

    If anyone ever says the heat are a threat to the Celtics in the EC again, they seriously don't know what they're talking about. Our best offensive option goes 0-10, has 1 point, we play only 7 players in the 2nd half (really the whole game, Nate played for about 2 minutes that I almost forgot about), and it felt like we scored 4 points in the 4th quarter. Whats even worse for the heat, is that we only get better in the playoffs.

    • Ryan DeGama

      You're overstating it if you think the Heat aren't even a threat.

      • I_Love_Green

        Okay they're a threat. But like how the Mavs are a threat to the Lakers in the west.

  • Batman

    I love how the guys who were whining about giving up on the season before need to calm down
    I said, we r celtics fans, we never give up

  • Batman

    LIKE DELONTE WEST'S GRANDMA SAID:
    U HAVE UPS
    AND U HAVE DOWNS
    SOMETHING SOMETING COMES AROUND!

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