The Heat traveled to Boston and the big three watched from the sidelines. Dwyane Wade has a dislocated finger to deal with, while LeBron James and Chris Bosh got some rest with the playoffs less than a week away. Sure, Miami was technically in the hunt for the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but the Bulls were in line to seal the deal regardless. Tonight’s loss has made it official, Chicago is #1 with Miami locked in at #2.
As for the game, the Celtics also played without three of their star players: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett. Boston is locked into the fourth seed, and although Paul Pierce started, he scored 8 points in 18 limited minutes. It was a game for the role players to step up, and for the backups to get some playing time they normally don’t get all season.
Dexter Pittman scored a dozen to go with a couple blocks, while James Jones sparked the bench with 11 and 6 rebounds. Udonis Haslem crashed the glass for a total of 13 boards.
Marquis Daniels contributed 13 points and a pair of steals. The Celtics rallied in the final quarter by forcing 8 turnovers, where Pavlovic hit 12 of his 16 points.
As expected when teams don’t have their star players, this was a very sloppy game with a combined 39 turnovers .
Expect the starters to rest Thursday night as well for both teams, when Boston hosts Milwaukee and the Heat visit Washington. The Celtics (4th seed) are set to face Atlanta (5th seed) in the first round, although the Hawks could have home court advantage in that series. As for Miami, they will either play the Knicks or 76ers. Both have 2 games remaining and are tied with a 34-30 record. Philadelphia will finish on the road against the Bucks and Pistons, while New York plays the Clippers at Madison Square Garden, then flies to Charlotte for the season finale. The better team will come to South Beach, whereas the 8th seed gets to square off in the Windy City.