Location: American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL
Tip-Off: 8:00 P.M.
Injury Report: Paul Pierce’s status is uncertain with a bruised right heel.
Keys to the Game: The Celtics are coming off a tough loss against the New York Knicks, a game where they came back from a double-digit deficit to take the lead late in the game, only to come up short in the end. Paul Pierce was definitely missed, as Doc Rivers did not have his go to player when time was running out with the game on the line. Marquis Daniels and Kevin Garnett could not hit their shots, a role Pierce has come to dominate.
They also lacked Pierce’s defense. Daniels and Sasha Pavlovic were given the task of containing Carmelo Anthony, who finished the game with 37 points. The Celtics are in another tough situation if Pierce does not play. LeBron James will be as tough a match-up if not worse, and if Sunday’s game was any indicator for tonight, Boston could be in serious trouble.
The C’s will rely on Rajon Rondo to control the game like he did against the Knicks; he finished with 31 points, five rebounds, 13 assists, and five steals. Rondo must be aggressive, getting his teammates involved and getting his own buckets when the opportunity presents itself.
Miami 102, Boston 90. Without Pierce, James will prove to be too much for the Celtics to handle. Look for James to take advantage of his defenders, and Dwyane Wade to get his own buckets against an older Boston team. Rondo should be able to get his numbers, but it will not be enough to bring a Celtics victory.