Game #33/82: Celtics (24-8) @ Heat (17-15)
Posted by Brendan Jackson on Jan 6, 2010
Boston at Miami
7:30 p.m. EST
American Airlines Arena
Local TV/Radio: CSN/WEEI
Opposing viewpoint: Hot Hot Hoops
Boston: 108.9 points/100 possessions (10th)
Miami: 106.4 points/100 possessions (17th)
Boston: 100.5 points allowed/100 possessions (1st)
Miami: 105.8 points allowed/100 possessions (12th)
Probable Miami Starters:
Dwayne Wade, Michael Beasley, Carlos Arroyo, Joel Anthony, Quentin Richardson
Miami: OUT: Jermaine O’Neal
Boston: OUT: Marquis Daniels, Eddie House, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins PROBABLE: Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo
Tune in folks! It’ll be an epic battle between the walking wounded and the running wounded. The Heat are without starting center and number2/3 option Jermaine O’Neal and the C’s are missing half their team due to injury and the flu. In battle of injured teams, it is usually the less injured team that comes out on top. Still, I have faith. Let me explain why…
WHAT THE HEAT DO WELL:
The Heat have some players that can rebound the basketball at every position. Udonis Haslem is a beast on the glass, Q-Rich is used to using his wide body to carve out space, Beasley’s no stranger to window washing, and grabbing boards is just one column on the stat sheet Wade fills up.
With KG out and Perkins, Davis, and Rondo limited, look for the C’s to get absolutely annihilated on the boards.
Play Well in Spurts
I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but they do it. Sometimes it works to their advantage, like the game against Atlanta, and sometimes it leaves them on the outs with the win column. Unfortunately, the C’s maybe catching a Miami team licking its chops at the thought of giving the C’s their ninth loss. Or, the Heat could come in to this game riding high on an impressive win against Atlanta and their young guys with focus issues could lose it and take this game off. I’m hoping for the latter, but can’t count out the former.
WHAT THE HEAT DO POORLY
Even with the addition of Quentin Richardson, the Heat are only average at best at scoring the basketball. They rely heavily on Dwayne Wade and players they think are good three point shooters. I’ll get to this later, but it really boggles my mind to try and rationalize why DaeQuan Cook gets playing time. If someone can answer that for me, I’m all ears.
PLAYERS WHO MAKES ME WORRY
I won’t waste each other’s time with a drawn out explanation of why I fear Dwayne Wade. However, I will say that he can score from anywhere on the floor despite his outside shooting being down this year. The best any C’s fan can hope for is that he’ll be the only one scoring.
I only fear him because I’m not completely sold on Big Baby’s ability to guard him; especially with a bum ankle. I fear his adeptness around the basket and his ability to finish around the rim with both hands. I do not fear his outside shot and I refuse to acknowledge any of his makes from beyond the arc. If I had my druthers, I’d have Beasley jacking outside shots all game.
PLAYERS WHO DO NOT MAKE ME WORRY
I’m still trying to figure out why this guy gets a pay check. He is supposedly an exlusive long-range shooter, yet he’s shooting just 30% from beyond the arc this season. To put that number in perspective, I’ll reference the C’s own Eddie House. By his standards, House is having a down year shooting the rock so far, and he’s still shooting 38%. Last year, he shot 44% to Cook’s 36%. Cook is just plain bad. Anyway you slice it.
Anthony is a big athletic body with not much else in terms of discernable skill. He’s been thrust into the starting lineup due to Jermaine O’Neal’s injury and that is not a good thing for Heat fans. As an energy guy with six fouls off the bench, Anthony is serviceable. As a starter…ugh.
WHAT WE WANT TO SEE FROM THE C’S TONIGHT
Health…and let’s keep it that way.
Doc’s taking a big gamble tonight should he play Rondo and Pierce. It’s not a mystery that the fate of this team resides in the tenuous sinews of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Rajon Rondo. With Kendrick Perkins potentially not being at full strength, I really don’t want to see Doc try and overplay Pierce and Rondo. It’s a meaningless game- unless someone gets hurt. Here’s hoping the C’s take another flyer on some of younger guys, it can’t hurt.
As I wrote before, in a battle of injured teams, it’s usually the less injured team that comes away with a win. I’m not so sure how many minutes Pierce, Perk’ and Rondo are going to play and ditto for their effectiveness. If I were Doc, which I will never be, I’m starting Pierce and Rondo the first three minutes of the game and taking them right out no matter the score or situation. After that, the C’s trainers can figure out if and when they return to the game. J.R. Giddens can guard Q-Rich, so why not let him?
Conventional wisdom says the Heat come out with a win, but like an unconventional oven (one that cools Heat perhaps?) I’m going to have to say C’s get the W- and perhaps a tan if their lucky. Celtics in a dog fight, 105, Heat 103.