Boston Celtics (41-12) at Miami Heat (28-24) Game #53 11/2/24

Boston Celtics (41-12) at Miami Heat (28-24) Game #53 11/2/24

The Celtics begin their two-game road trip with a game against the Miami Heat this afternoon. In the three-game regular season finale, the C’s hold a 2-0 series lead over Miami. Boston took care of business 119-111 at home on October 27th. In the second game of the series, Joe Mazzulla and company swept Miami 143-110 on January 25th. In that game, Boston had seven players finish in double figures in points.



Less than a week into the All-Star break, the Celtics remain the number one seed in the East, with a 15-9 record on the road. Four and a half games ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston is on a three-game winning streak. Over the past week, the C’s have wins over the Memphis Grizzlies and Atlanta Hawks. On Friday night, they beat the Washington Wizards 133-129, thanks to a third-quarter spark. They are 8-2 in their last 10 games and 4-1 in their last five road games.

With 15 points coming into the game against Washington, the Celtics had one of their most dominant performances inside, outscoring the Wizards 62-42 in the paint. Boston mostly struggled, except for Jayson Tatum and Kristaps Porzingis, who combined for 69 points. Although it was a tough shooting night for No. 0, Tatum and Porzingis both finished with double figures. If you ask me, it was a little too close for comfort, especially considering the Wizards only have nine wins on the season.

Sunday’s game will mark Boston’s first road game since Jan. 25, ironically against the Heat.

A classic rematch between the two Eastern Conference rivals, Boston has an 82-53 record against Miami all-time. In those 135 regular season games, the Celtics averaged 100 points, 21.6 assists, 4.5 blocks, 7.9 steals and 41.3 rebounds per game. Since the 2010 season, Boston has faced Miami six times in the playoffs.

The Celtics remain a top seed in offensive and defensive rating. Leading the NBA in net rating (9.6), Boston remains one of the most prolific three-point shooting teams. First in three-point attempts (42.8), the C’s gave up 120.6 points per game. First back, they will look for a complete sweep this afternoon against Miami and will aim for five straight wins.

After this trip to Miami, the Celtics will play six of their next ten games on the road against the Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns.

The deadline after the trade, the Celtics were quite active, while the Heat remained quiet. Weeks ago, Miami acquired Terry Rozier from the Charlotte Hornets for Kyle Lowry. On Friday, Miami signed guard Alondes Williams to a two-way contract.

Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens proved his brilliance again. Boston acquired Xavier Tillman from the Grizzlies and Jaden Springer from the 76ers. With the acquisitions, the C’s parted ways with Lamar Stevens and Dalano Banton.

At 28-24 on the year, Miami hasn’t been as efficient, sitting as the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. 15-12 at home, the Heat are 4-6 in their last ten games and end a four-game homestand today. The Heat and Celtics are historically known for their rivalry, however, these teams couldn’t be further apart on paper.

Still in playoff contention, the Heat remain a half-game behind the Orlando Magic for the 7th seed. A difference of -0.2 points on the season leaves them 3.5 games ahead of the Bulls.

Similar to last season, the Heat rank 23rd in offensive rating, scoring a league-low 110.5 points per game. Just above Portland, Charlotte and Memphis in scoring, Miami remains one of the least efficient teams from the floor (46%) and has trouble rebounding, especially on the offensive boards.

There are multiple reports of injuries in this afternoon’s game. For the Celtics, Springer remains out with an ankle injury. Additionally, newly acquired Tillman will not suit up due to a knee injury. For the Miami Heat, Jimmy “Buckets” Butler is listed as a decision for playing time due to personal reasons.

Potential Celtics starters

Photo by Paul Rutherford/Getty Images

Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Brian Fluharty/Getty Images

Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images

Celtics Starters

PG, #4: Jrue Vacation
SG, #9: Derrick White
SF, #7: Jaylen Brown
PF, #0: Jayson Tatum
C: #8: Kristaps Porzingis

Celtics reserves

  • G, #11: Jaden Springer
  • G, #50: Svi Mykhailiuk
  • G, #11: Payton Pritchard
  • G, #27: Jordan Walsh
  • G, #20: JD Davidson (two-way player)
  • F, #12: Oshae Brissett
  • F, #30: Sam Hauser
  • F: Xavier Tillman
  • F, #1: Nathan Knight (two-way player)
  • F, #42: Al Horford
  • C, #40: Luke Cornett
  • C, #88: Neemias Queta (two-way player)

INJURY

Xavier Tillman: controversial
Jaden Springer: controversial

Coach of the Boston Celtics

Joe Mazzulla

Potential heat starters

Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images

Photo by Eric Espada/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

Warm-up starters

PG, #2: Terry Rozier
SG, #14: Tyler Hero
SF, #22: Jimmy Butler
PF, #16: Caleb Martin
C, #13: Bam Adebayo

Heat reserves

  • G, #15: Alondes Williams (two-way player)
  • G: #9: Wood Smith
  • G, #0: Josh Richardson
  • F, #5: Nikola Jovic
  • F, #55: Duncan Robinson
  • F, #11: Jaime Jaquez Jr.
  • F, #42: Kevin Love
  • F: #24: Haywood Highsmith
  • F: #8: Jamal Cain (two-way player)
  • F: #21: Cole Swider (two-way player)
  • C: #25: Orlando Robinson
  • C, #31 Thomas Bryant

INJURY

Jimmy Butler: game-time-decision (personal)

Head coach of the Miami Heat

Erik Spoelstra

The keys to a victory Cs

Rebounding: Joe Mazzulla and the Celtics pride themselves on defense and have steadily built that culture all season long. First back in the NBA, Boston controlled the boards through the first two games. In those two wins, the Celtics not only outscored Miami 102-76, but they had a +41 point differential. With only 12 turnovers, 7 of those came when Boston was out-rebounded by their opponent. As we all know, catching planks is. They must secure the boards on offense.

Benefit from healthy C formation: I’ve said it before: it’s always a blessing when the Celtics have a healthy starter, plus Al Horford. Boston is coming off an off day and will get a clean bill of health for today’s game. It’s not every day that this group gets to play together, and every time they do, they continue to grow and build chemistry.

Boston is on the road: Just 15-9 away from TD Garden this season, the Celtics have won four straight on the road, including finishing 4-1 on a rigorous west coast trip in late December. Although they don’t have the best record away from Beantown, the Celtics dominated Miami by 33 points in the last game at the Kaseya Center.

Don’t be overconfident: The Celtics are currently 2-0 against the Heat this season, however, that doesn’t mean much. After leading the series 3-1 last year against Miami, Boston went on to suffer a heartbreaking Game 7 loss against them in the Eastern Conference Finals. It’s vital that the C’s keep their foot off the gas and play them like it’s a playoff series. After all, the probability that Boston will see Miami in the playoffs is quite high.

Limit turnovers and quick break points: On Friday night, the Celtics played an unknown second quarter in which they allowed the Wizards to score 18 fast break points. Although they claimed the win, Washington scored a season-high 36 points against Boston. With a total of 26 turnovers in the first two games against Miami, taking care of the ball and getting stops on defense will be imperative.

Attack in the paint: It’s no secret that the Celtics love to shoot threes, and they have several players who can shoot from deep. With that said, they have found different ways to score, especially after their dominance in the paint on Friday night. In two games against Miami, Boston has done a great job of creating mismatches and finding ways to score in the post. In two games this season, Boston outscored Miami 96-78 in the paint.

Protection: Like the last game, today is a classic example of a top defensive team against a team that struggles to score. That’s especially the case if Jimmy Butler can’t suit up this afternoon. Even though they have won back-to-back against the Wizards and Kings, the Heat are scoring just over 111 points in their last 5 games. Combined with this Celtics defense, Boston can put them back in the room by making it difficult for them to play offensively. Over the past five games, Boston is holding opponents to 115 points per game.

Game Match:

Bam Adebayo vs. Kristaps Porzingis

Today, the battle will take place between two defensive centers, Bam Adebayo and Kristaps Porzings. In two games this year, Adebayo is averaging 23 points, 1.5 blocks and 6.0 rebounds against Boston. Against Miami, Porzingis has 18 points, 1.5 steals and 6.5 against Miami. Since Adebayo is a paint guy, KP averaged 50 percent from deep against Miami.

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