at Boston Celtics (25-15) at Miami Heat (19-20)
Thursday, January 10, 2019
7:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #41, Road Game #21
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, 790 The Ticket
American Airlines ArenaProbable Starting Matchups
Kyrie Irving vs Justise Winslow
Marcus Smart vs Josh RichardsonSmall Forward
Jayson Tatum vs Rodney McGruderPower Forward
Marcus Morris vs James JohnsonCenter
Al Horford vs Hassan Whiteside Reserves
Terry Rozier Injuries
Jabari Bird (personal) out
Aron Baynes (hand) outTwo Way Players
Derrick Jones, Jr
Dion Waiters Injuries
Goran Dragic (knee) out Two Way Players
Duncan RobinsonHead Coach
Erik Spoelstra Game Notes
The Celtics begin a 3 game road trip with a stop in Miami to take on the Heat. This is the first of 4 games between these two teams this season. They last met over a year ago when the Heat beat the Celtics on December 20, 2017. They will meet again in Miami on April 3 and twice in Boston on January 21 and April 1.
The Heat won the series 2-1 last season. The Heat are 46-70 all time vs the Celtics. They are 27-33 all time in Miami. The Celtics are 5th in the East, while the Heat are 6th, 5.5 games behind the Celtics. The Celtics are within 1 of Philly and 4.5 behind first place Toronto. The Heat will be looking to make up a game against the team directly in front of them. They have lost their last 2 games and are 6-4 in their last 10 games. They are 9-12 at home, which is surprising since they are 10-8 on the road.
After playing their last two games against teams on the second night of back to back games, this time the Celtics are the team playing back to back after a game at home vs the Pacers on Wednesday night. The Celtics are 2-4 overall in the second game of back to backs. They are 1-1 in the second game when the games are home/away.
The Celtics are finally getting healthy with only Aron Baynes and Jabari Parker on the injured list. Baynes is making great progress and may be back as soon as next week. The Heat are mostly healthy as well with only Goran Dragic on the injured list with an injured knee. Key Matchups
Marcus Smart vs Josh Richardson
Once again, Marcus Smart is matched up with the opponent's top scorer. Richardson is averaging 18.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists. Marcus will need to play tough defense once again to keep Richardson from having a big game.
Al Horford vs Hassan Whiteside
Whiteside is averaging 12.8 points, 12.7 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. Al will need to keep Whiteside away from the paint to limit his rebounds and blocks. We may also see Robert Williams matched up with him at times to see if he can be physical enough to slow Whiteside down. Honorable Mention
Celtics Bench vs Heat Bench
In the last 20 games, the Heat's bench has been averaging 47.7 points per game and have a 15.8 point scoring differential over their opponents. Miami's bench is also 2nd among other reserves with 19.8 rebounds per game and 2nd in steals with 3.42 per game and 5th in assists. Dwyane Wade, Dion Waiters and Tyler Johnson are all averaging in double figures off the bench. Former Celtic Kelly Olynyk is averaging 9.7 points per game but the last time these two teams met, Olynyk put up a career high 32 points. Keys to the Game
Defense wins games. The Celtics are third in the league with a defensive rating of 104.1 while the Heat are 7th with a defensive rating of 105.9. The Celtics need to make defense a priority as the Heat will be playing tough defense and without also limiting the Heats scoring, getting a win will be tough. Rebound
The Heat are averaging 47.2 rebounds per game while the Celtics are averaging 45.2 rebounds per game. The Heat are 3rd with 15.3 second chance points per game so beating them to rebounds will be very important. Crashing the boards will give the Celtics extra possessions as well as keeping the Heat from getting fast breaks and second chance points. Rebounding takes effort and the Celtics will need extra effort in this one to win the rebounding battle. Be Aggressive
The Celtics have to be aggressive in going to the basket and not settle for jumpers, especially if the jumpers aren't falling. They have to dive for loose balls and be aggressive in crashing the boards. They can't afford to slack off or to allow the Heat to play harder than them. They have to be the team that wants it more.
Play 48 Minutes
- The Celtics have been in the habit of falling behind by double digits and then having to play extra hard to get back into the game. Or, they start off strong and get off to a big lead and then let up and let their opponent catch up. They need to play hard on both ends of the court from the opening tip to the final buzzer. X-Factors
- The Celtics are beginning a 3 game road trip. Sometimes younger players struggle to keep their focus on the road. They have to block out the hostile crowd and they have to focus on playing the game and not allow the distractions of playing on the road take their minds off the game.
- The Celtics will need to remember back to the two losses to the Heat last season and to the Kelly Olynyk 32 point career game against them. Kelly will want to once again beat his former team especially in his new home arena and hopefully the Celtics will come ready to avoid that and avenge their losses from last season.