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

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


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

Less than a week until the All-Star break, the Celtics remain the number one seed in the East, with a 15-9 record on the road. Four and half games ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston is on a three-game win streak. Over the past week, the C’s have victories over the Memphis Grizzlies and the Atlanta Hawks. On Friday night, they defeated 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 games on the road.

Up a game-high 15 points against Washington, the Celtics had one of their most dominant performances inside, outscoring the Wizards 62-42 in the paint. Boston mainly struggled, aside from of Jayson Tatum and Kristaps Porzingis, who combined for 69 points. Although it was a tough shooting night for number 0, Tatum and Porzingis both finished with double-double performances. If you ask me, it was a little too close for comfort, especially given the Wizards have just nine wins on the season.

Sunday’s matchup will mark the first road game for Boston since January 25th, ironically which was against the Heat.

A classic rematch between two Eastern Conference rivals, Boston has an 82-53 record versus Miami all-time. In those 135 regular season games, the Celtics average nearly 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 put up 120.6 points per game. First in rebounding, they will look for a full sweep this afternoon against Miami and aim for five consecutive victories.

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

Post-trade deadline, the Celtics were fairly active, while the Heat remained quiet. Weeks before, Miami acquired Terry Rozier from the Charlotte Hornets for Kyle Lowry. On Friday, Miami signed guard Alondes Williams on a two-way contract.

Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens proved his brilliancy yet 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.

28-24 on the year, Miami hasn’t been as efficient, sitting as the number 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. 15-12 at home, the Heat are 4-6 in their last ten games, and finish up a four-game home stand 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 half a game back behind the Orlando Magic for the 7th seed. A -0.2 point differential on the season, they remain 3.5 games ahead of the Bulls.

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

There are multiple injury reports for today’s afternoon game. For the Celtics, Springer remains out with an ankle injury. In addition, newly acquired Tillman won’t suit up due to a knee injury. For the Miami Heat, Jimmy “Buckets” Butler is listed as a game time decision for personal reasons.

Probable Celtics Starters

Celtics Starters

PG, #4 : Jrue HolidaySG, #9: Derrick WhiteSF, #7: Jaylen BrownPF, #0: Jayson TatumC: #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 (2-way player)
F, #12: Oshae Brissett
F, #30: Sam Hauser
F: Xavier Tillman
F, #1: Nathan Knight (2-way player)
F, #42: Al Horford
C, #40: Luke Kornet
C, #88: Neemias Queta (2-way player)


Xavier Tillman: questionableJaden Springer: questionable

Boston Celtics Head Coach

Joe Mazzulla

Probable Heat Starters

Heat Starters

PG, #2: Terry RozierSG, #14: Tyler HerroSF, #22: Jimmy ButlerPF, #16: Caleb MartinC, #13: Bam Adebayo

Heat Reserves

G, #15: Alondes Williams (2-way player)
G: #9: Dru 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 (2-way player)
F: #21: Cole Swider (2-way player)
C: #25: Orlando Robinson
C, #31 Thomas Bryant


Jimmy Butler: game-time-decision (personal)

Miami Heat Head Coach

Erik Spoelstra

Keys for a Cs win

Rebounding: Joe Mazzulla and the Celtics pride themselves on defensive, and have consistently built that culture throughout the season. First in rebounding in the NBA, Boston had control of the boards through their first two matchups. In those two victories, not only did the Celtics out-rebound Miami 102-76, they had a point differential of +41. Through only 12 losses, 7 of the came when Boston got out rebounded by their opponent. As we all know, grabbing the boards is. They must secure the boards on offense.

Take advantage of a healthy C’s lineup: I’ve said this before: it’s always a blessing when the Celtics have a healthy starting five, plus Al Horford. Boston is coming off one day of rest, and will get a clean bill of health for today’s matchup. It’s not everyday where this group gets to play together, and each time they do, they continue to grow and build chemistry.

Boston is on the road: Only 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 at the end of December. Although they don’t have the best record away from Beantown, the Celtics dominated Miami by a margin of 33 points at the Kaseya Center last matchup.

Don’t get overly confident: The Celtics are currently up 2-0 against the Heat this season, however, that doesn’t mean much. Having led the series 3-1 last year against Miami, Boston went on to face a heartbreaking Game 7 loss against them in the Eastern Conference Finals. It’s vital the Cs don’t let their foot off the gas, and play them as if was a playoff series, After all, the probability of Boston seeing Miami in the playoffs is fairly high.

Limit turnovers and fast break points: On Friday evening, the Celtics played an unrecognizable second quarter, in which they allowed the Wizards to score 18 fast break points. Although they declared victory, Washington scored a season-high 36 fast break points against Boston. With a total of 26 turnovers in the first two games against Miami, it will be imperative to take care of the ball, and get defensive stops.

Attacking in the paint: It’s no secret that the Celtics love to shoot threes, and have several players that can hit from deep. With that said, they’ve been figuring out various ways to score, especially after their paint domination 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 matchups this season, Boston outscored Miami 96-78 in the paint.

Defense: Much like last matchup, today is a classic example of a top defensive team vs. a team that struggles to score. This is the case especially if Jimmy Butler can’t suit up this afternoon. Although they’ve won two straight against the Wizards and Kings, the Heat are only putting up just over 111 points over the last 5 games. Combine that the Celtics defense, Boston can put them back in the chamber by making offensive plays difficult for them. Over the last five games, Boston is limiting opponents to 115 points per game.

Matchup of the game:

Bam Adebayo vs. Kristaps Porzingis

Today will be the battle 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 is putting up 18 points, 1.5 steals, and 6.5 against Miami. Given Adebayo is a paint guy, KP is averaging 50 percent from deep against Miami.

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