Tonight Miami Heat will face the Boston Celtics as part of a 2-game road trip to round off the season. While Miami is locked in the 2nd seed, Celtics have the incentive of fighting for home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Despite the chance to grab the 3rd seed, Boston will most likely not turn up with their optimal lineup. Mickael Pietrus and the Big 4 of the Celtics were all sitting out the game against the Atlanta Hawks last Friday. However, Pierce and Garnett were merely being rested and might return to the lineup tonight. Rondo and Allen are most likely out as they nurse injuries.
The Big 3 of the Heat haven’t played together for 5 straight games, and will very likely be sitting out the last two games as well. This gives the Heat’s role players an excellent opportunity to settle into a nice rhyhtm that they can hopefully carry into the playoffs. Ronny Turiaf is also likely to sit out with a hamstring strain.
Both Boston and Miami are elite defensive teams, even with key players sitting out. Avery Bradley has been a welcomed discovery in the Celtics camp as he scored a career high 28 points in his last game, and has been terrific on defense. Even if Garnett and Pierce play, look for Boston to go to their young guard for some offensive production.
It is no secret that the vast majority of Miami’s offense is generated by the big 3. If LeBron James doesn’t play the team might struggle to put the ball in the basket, forcing them to rely on defense. Mike Miller has been hot as of late and with James Jones getting more minutes the Heat will most likely take a lot of 3-point shots.