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Danny

HEAT at Celtics Official Game Thread and Preview

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(Photo Credit: Jim Rogash)

The Miami HEAT take on the Boston Celtics Sunday at TD Garden. The HEAT lead the Eastern Conference while the Celtics are in eighth. The Eastern Conference Finals rematch tips off at 1 PM. The last time the HEAT were in Boston, LeBron James exploded for 45 points and 15 rebounds

1. What is ailing the sub-.500 Boston Celtics?

Couper Moorhead: The same thing that hurt them last season and the same thing that is hurting the Memphis Grizzlies: one of the league’s best defenses just can’t put together enough consistent offense to sustain itself. Danny Ainge added a ton of shooters in the offseason to make up for losing Ray Allen, but among rotation players only Jason Terry is shooting over 36 percent from three. As well as Kevin Garnett can space the floor, defenses are routinely able to pack the paint, which in turn is hindering Rajon Rondo’s ability to penetrate and create shots. The defense is still incredible whenever Garnett is on the court, and Avery Bradley only helps in that respect, but eventually they are going to need someone to be a more consistent three-point threat.

Danny Martinez: The last few seasons, the Celtics have been able to stay afloat by playing elite defense that covered for below average offense. This season, the offense is 24th in the NBA, but the defense is just 10th. The slip in defense has caused them problems because the offense doesn’t score efficiently. Also, the Celtics have had to work in new pieces.

2. It seems like every year around this time there are fans around the nation clamoring for the Celtics to make a move. Do you agree with them?

Couper: If Ainge made a deal every time his fanbase asked for it, the Celtics would probably be short one trip the NBA Finals and another to the Eastern Conference Finals. Because Boston doesn’t have the offensive firepower they can turn in some tough-watching games during the regular season, but they aren’t all that different from any other team that knows how important it is to be healthy and rested for the playoffs. You have to make the playoffs, of course, but this team has proved time and time again that their defense gives them a chance in any series. You just don’t toss that type of opportunity, however narrow it may get as the team ages, out the window until you have to. Because once Ainge starts making deals, he will be making them for a new future, not a better present.

Danny: It’s a really tough call. The Celtics are kind of stuck this season, locked into the eighth seed unless something funky happens. The Celtics are a better playoff team than regular season team largely due to minute distribution. If they can find a way to get the sixth seed, they may be able to steal a first round upset. Is there a move out there that can do that? I don’t know. If there is, I’m not sure it’d be worth it for the long-term future of the organization. The Celtics management has to determine whether or not this group can make a serious run, and that answer isn’t exactly obvious right now.

3. Do you expect Ray Allen to be cheered?

Couper: I’ve gone back and forth on this, but in the end I expect the majority of Boston fans will stand up and cheer. You’re always going to have some folks that go to a game like this with the sole intent of booing a supposed ‘traitor’, but most of those in attendance should appreciate what Allen did for them over the years. And knowing Boston, you would expect the vocal minority – the boo birds – to be shot down by their fellow fans.

Danny: No, but I hope he is. It often takes fans a while to adjust to a former player in a new jersey. It’s just been a few months and the Celtics are struggling. There’s some frustration and that’s understandable. The fact remains that Ray Allen helped bring the Celtics their first championship in over two decades. His contributions should be applauded. Whether it happens today or at a later date remains to be seen.

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Ray Allen's return, they'll make an effort to get him the ball. And he'll show them what they're missing. I can't wait for this matchup, the Celtics are struggling and are gonna want this game. Doc will have them ready for tomorrow and the crowd will be a good one!

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It's funny to think that we might face Boston in the 1st round this year based on the current standings. Would be a pretty intense start to the playoffs.

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For this game, Heat's got to be extra careful.... Remember the saying that " "There's nothing more dangerous than a wounded animal." And right now, Celtics is undergoing a long string of losses and it will definitely not want the Heat to deliver another serious blow.

Let's all hope that Allen will shine more in this situation. Let's Go Heat!!!

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It's time to bury the Boston Relics once and for all

============

ugh gotta wake up at 5am to watch this game

hahaha good for u

I got to sleep now so i can watch this game 2 AM <_<

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The Celtics are thirsty for a win after losing 6 straight, so expect them to come out ready for battle. MIAMI must play efficient basketball on both ends of the court, as well as attack Boston for four quarters in order to thwart any hope that Boston may have of winning this game. I'd love it if MIAMI could rest it's starters in the fourth and allow JESUS SHUTTLESWORTH to close the Celtics out with a performance that'll leave Danny Ainge questioning his decision to let RAYRAY go. Defend,dominate,destroy...TEAM HEAT since '88!

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Almost game time! Hope Wade can keep this hot streak going. Funny how Wade's effectiveness has started to make LeBron's life a lot easier. Hope that trend continues since the Celtics don't have any good way of stopping Wade.

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Yo, they should really do that very often. Barbosa can't do anything against Wade in the post. And Wade easily finds the open man, if the double team comes.

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