Miami Heat at Boston Celtics Preview
The Miami Heat are hanging onto the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a razor-thin half-game lead over the Orlando Magic. They’ll look to put some distance between them and the Magic if they’re able to get a win tonight against the Boston Celtics on the road.
Miami is 38-38 on the season, and they’ve been rallying as of late, going 7-3 in their last 10 and winning their last two as they look to extend their streak to three tonight. Boston is 45-32, but they are in a tie with the Indiana Pacers for fourth place in the East. They lost their last game and are 4-6 in their last 10 games. They likely won’t slip past the fifth spot, so their first-round matchup with the Indiana Pacers is pretty much a lock at this point.
The Heat and Celtics last played on January 21, with the Celtics getting the better of the Heat 107-99. Kyrie Irving had 26 points and 10 assists in the game, and Derrick Jones Jr. led the Heat with 18 points and nine rebounds.
Time: 7:30pm ET
Arena: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Channel: NBA TV
Miami Heat Starting Lineup
The Miami Heat have won their last two over the Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks. They beat the Knicks 100-92 on Saturday night in Dwyane Wade’s final game at Madison Square Garden.
“As a player, this is your last time and you just want to enjoy it,” Wade said. “I know the fans stayed around and that was so cool, man, to be able to have that. You expect it at home maybe your last time, but on the road, you don’t expect that.”
Wade didn’t disappoint as he tallied 16 points and seven rebounds in the win.
The Heat went down early and trailed at the half, but they turned up the defensive effort in the second half, limiting the Knicks to just 31 second-half points.
Aside from Wade, Dion Waiters led the Heat with 28 points. Hassan Whiteside had 17 points and 13 rebounds in just 20 minutes and Goran Dragic had 10 points and 10 assists as he started for Miami.
Boston Celtics Starting Lineup
The Celtics snapped a four-game losing streak last week with wins over the Cleveland Cavaliers and Indiana Pacers but then lost on Saturday against the Brooklyn Nets. The Celtics have shown signs of inconsistency but Celtics forward Marcus Morris says Boston has time to turn it around.
“Everyone is going to doubt us because of the year we’ve had,” Morris said. “When the playoffs hit, it’s basically a new season. We still have a chance to turn this thing around.”
The Celtics now have a home-and-home with the Heat, but they’ll have to learn from their mistakes in the 96-110 loss to Brooklyn as they move forward.
With Kyrie Irving out, Terry Rozier usually shines, but that was not the case as he finished with just two points and four assists in 27 minutes. Jayson Tatum also struggled, scoring just nine points in 30 minutes.
Only three Celtics players reached double figures in scoring and Morris, who scored 16, was the only starter to do so as the four other starters only managed a combined 23 points, which could be very problematic in the playoffs.
Miami Heat at Boston Celtics Betting Odds
The Celtics are 6.5 point favorites to win tonight at home. Boston is 27-12 at TD Garden and 40-22 as the favorite. Miami is 20-17 on the road and 18-19 as the underdog.
The over/under is 212 points and the Celtics are -270 on the moneyline after opening at -300.
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