Boston: 104.0 points/100 possessions
Miami: 108.3 points/100 possessions
Defensive Efficiency (2010-11):
Boston: 97.8 points allowed/100 possessions
Miami: 106.9 points allowed/100 possessions
Key Injuries: Paul Pierce (heel) is out. Sasha Pavlovic will start.
Probable Miami Starters: Almario Vernard Chalmers (PG), Dwyane Wade (SG), LeBron Raymone James (SF), Christopher Wesson Bosh (PF), Joel Anthony (C)
View From The Opposing Bench: Heat Index
Boston returns to the Triple-A for the first time since Miami took the Eastern Conference Semis and celebrated like it was V-J Day. They’ll run without Paul Pierce, who’s still out with a bruised heel. Mickael Pietrus won’t be available for about 10 days, although his knee apparently feels “good.” So the SFs are down to Marquis Daniels and Sasha Pavlovic, and Doc has never wavered in his desire to keep Marquis playing with the bench.
That means Sasha Pavlovic will be guarding the best player in the world tonight. More good news after the jump!
MARIO CHALMERS POPPING HIS PEACOAT
Tonight we’ll get our first look at the new Heat intro video, which director Gil Green says will have a “music video vibe.” Sounds very tasteful and not stupid at all. Not that surprising, considering that Green also directed this cartoonishly over-the-top chunk of Youtube gold that functioned as last year’s intro. Hope you like NBA players wearing four layers and slowly raising their heads!
Not getting the vibe that people are very excited about this game. What should be a major grudge match for the Celtics is starting to feel like a throwaway loss, especially after what the Heat did to the defending champion Mavericks in the season opener. When you find yourself hoping that maybe Pavlovic heard LeBron James sleep-talk the secret to defending him while napping on the 2007 Cavaliers team bus, it’s time to reevaluate.
Paul Pierce, unfortunately, may not even be the biggest thing the Celtics are missing today.
I wrote a lot last season about the value of a defensive big man for stopping the Heat, because so much of their game is focused on attacking the rim. With a tandem of Shaq and Jermaine or Perkins and Shaq or whoever, the Celtics had a stopper under the basket at all times during the regular season last year, forcing LeBron and Wade to settle for jumpers that are much less efficient for them. That’s why having Tyson Chandler was so essential for the Mavs in the Finals, and why they ate it on Sunday without him.
Now, though, they have less than 20 minutes of Jermaine O’Neal and whatever they can get out of Chris Wilcox, who is not very tall and didn’t really show much in the opener outside of his ability to pass to the wrong team. KG is always good for some help defense, but that leaves Horrible Boshes open for those jumpers he likes.
Without a strong defensive center playing more than half the game, the Celtics will have a rough time against the Heat all year. I wouldn’t be mad if Doc put some of his third-string bigs in tonight, just to see if a big body works. Maybe the Heat will be the first team to get Stiemsrollered.
Still plenty of reason to watch tonight, though. It’ll be very interesting to see if Rajon Rondo continues his MVP play, or if Brandon Bass continues to impress. As always, there are rookies to look out for and veterans to check in on. No matter what happens, we’re still finding out about this Celtics team. And if they win tonight…well, that would just be the greatest thing.
Miami 104, Celtics 96