Saturday, March 25

Miami Heat at Boston Celtics Game #52 1/31/22

The Celtics return home from a win at the Pelicans to host the Miami Heat, who are coming off a 3-overtime home loss to the Raptors. This is the second of 3 games between these two teams this season. The Celtics won the first game 95-78 in Miami. That was a defensive battle with the Heat holding the Celtics to 39.7% from the field and the Celtics holding the Heat to 34.6% from the field. Both teams were mostly healthy for that game. They will meet one more time on March 30 in Boston.

The Celtics are ninth in the East, having won their last game. They are 16-10 at home and 6-4 in their last 10 games. They are 17-14 against other Eastern Conference teams. The Celtics are tied with the Raptors for eighth place, who are coming off a 3OT win over the Heat on Saturday. They are 2 games behind 7th place Charlotte and 4 games behind 6th place Nets. They are 1 game ahead of 10th place Atlanta and 2 games ahead of 11th place Washington.

The Heat are first in the East and are coming off a loss. They are 14-12 on the road and 7-3 in their last 10 games. They are 20-10 against other Eastern Conference teams. They are 1 game ahead of second place Bulls and 1.5 games ahead of third place Philadelphia, fourth place Cleveland and fifth place Milwaukee. They are 6.5 games ahead of the Boston Celtics.

The Heat are playing in the first game of a 6-game road trip. This is the first of consecutive games for them and they will travel to Toronto for a game on Tuesday. The Celtics are home for 3 games and Charlotte comes to Boston on Wednesday for a key game to determine seeding. They then hit the road again to take on Detroit, Orlando, and finally Brooklyn before heading home once more.

The Celtics remain mostly healthy, Romeo Langford was originally questionable after leaving Saturday’s game with a sore heel, but is listed as available in the latest injury report. PJ Dozier (knee) and Bol Bol (foot) are out. Dennis Schroder is listed as probable with right Achilles tendinopathy.

The Heat have 7 players listed as out. Kyle Lowry (staff), Markieff Morris (covid), KZ Okpala (wrist), Victor Oladipo (knee), Omer Yertseven (covid), Jimmy Butler (toe irritation) and PJ Tucker (knee) are all out. With Butler and Tucker out of the starting lineup, I’m guessing Tyler Herro will start at shooting guard while Duncan Robinson moves up to power forward and Max Strus starts at small forward. However, that is just an assumption.

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Potential Celtics starters

PG: Smart Marcus
SG: Jaylen Brown
CF: Jayson Tatum
FAQ: Al Horford
C: Robert Williams III

Celtics Reserves
Bruno Ferdinand
you have freedom
payton pritchard
joseph richardson
dennis schroeder
Aaron Nesmith
grant williams

Romeo Langford (heel) available
Dennis Schroder (Achilles tendinopathy) probable
Bol Bol (foot) out
PJ Dozier (knee) out

Two-way players
sam hauser
brodric thomas

i’m udoka

Likely heat starters

PG: Gabe Vicente
SG: Tyler Herro
CF: Max Strus
PF: Duncan Robinson
C: Bam Adebayo

heat reserves
Dewayne Demon
Tyler Herro
Markieff Morris
Chris Silva
Max Strus

Victor Oladipo (knee) out
KZ Okpala (doll) out
Omer Yurtseven (covid) out
Markieff Morris (conditioning) out
Kyle Lowry (staff) out
Jimmy Butler (ankle) out
PJ Tucker (knee) out

Two-way players
Caleb Martin
boy kyle

erik spoelstra

key matchups

Jaylen Brown vs. Tyler Herro
Herro is averaging 20.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. He is second only to Jimmy Butler in scoring. He is shooting 42.4% from the field and 38.1% from beyond the arc. He is dangerous from the outside if he is allowed to find his rhythm and warm up. He’s another player who always seems to have a great game against the Celtics. The Celtics will need to defend him well, especially on the perimeter, to prevent him from having a big game. The Celtics also need a good game from Jaylen Brown.

Robert Williams III vs. Bam Adebayo
Adebayo always seems to play well against the Celtics. He averages 17.8 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. He’s shooting 51.4% from the field and isn’t much of a threat from beyond the arc. The Celtics will need a big game from Timelord on both ends of the floor.

Honorable Mention
Jayson Tatum vs. Max Strus
My guess is that ex-Celtic Max Strus will start in place of the injured Jimmy Butler. Strus is averaging 11.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists. He is shooting 44.2% from the field and 39.8% from beyond the arc. The Celtics need to protect him well on the perimeter as he is very capable of warming up from the outside. Of course, the Celtics need Jayson Tatum to hit his shots and play well in this game.

game keys
Defending – Defense is always the first and foremost key to winning. The Celtics are fourth with a 106.3 defensive rating. The Heat are a tough defensive team also in seventh place with a 107.6 defensive rating. The Celtics should make defense a priority in this game. In their first game, the Celtics held the Heat to 34.6% shooting from the field, while the Heat held the Celtics to 39.7% shooting from the field. This game is also likely to be a defensive matchup and the Celtics must match or exceed the Heat’s defensive effort if they hope to pull off a win.

Rebound – As with defense, rebounding will always be the key to winning. Teams need the ball to score and rebounding gives them extra possessions and also prevents their opponents from getting those possessions themselves. A lot of rebounding is effort and hustle, and when the Celtics go that extra mile to grab rebounds, it usually translates to other areas of the game as well. The Heat score 14.1 second-chance points per game and the Celtics need to work hard on the boards to stop those extra points.

Play hard for 48 minutes – The Heat play hard. For the most part, everyone tries their best throughout the game and often win games simply by outplaying their opponents. The Celtics must come out strong on both ends of the floor and must play hard through the 48 minutes to the final buzzer. Against the Heat, they can’t afford to slack off by a quarter or allow the Heat to play harder than they do for an extended period of time or they’ll be beaten.

Move the ball and pick up the pace – The Celtics have looked great when they push the ball down the floor and when they keep the ball moving and find the open man. When they slow down the game and dribble excessively or play ball, things often don’t end well. They have to try to get on the floor on offense before the Heat set up their defense and they need to move the ball to get good shots.

stay focused – The Celtics need to focus and keep their heads in the game. They should focus on handling the ball and not make sloppy passes and turnovers. The Heat are averaging 17.1 points per game on turnovers and the Celtics can’t give them extra points by turning the ball over. They need to stay focused on taking good shots and making them. They have to stay focused on playing the right way.

X Factors
home party – The Celtics are home again. The Heat aren’t a bad road team with a 14-12 road record, but they’ll have the distractions of being on the road and having to stay in a hotel and the cheers (and jeers) of Celtics fans. The Celtics need to reward their fans with a game where they do their best to beat the opposing team in a very important game.

Injuries and underestimation – The Celtics are mostly healthy, while the Heat have 7 players out, including 2 starters who are key players for them. In the past, the Celtics have underestimated teams with multiple injuries and lost games they should have won. The Heat are a deep team and have been winning despite injuries to key players. The Celtics need to play like the Heat are 100% and not underestimate them one bit.

officiating – Arbitration is always an x ​​factor in every game. Each team officiates differently. Some call it tight, others let them play. Some favor the home team. Some favor the road team. Some just make bad calls, scratching their heads. The Celtics need to adapt to the way the umpires call the game and not let bad decisions take them out of the game.

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