Game #33: Boston Celtics (24-8) vs. Miami Heat (17-15)

Well...things have certainly gotten a little exciting in the land of the Heat over the past 24 hours.  But before we can get to the second edition of Rafer, Miami has to play a game against one of the best in the East, the Boston Celtics.  That's right...did you forget the Heat have a game tonight?  I'll admit, it's been a little distracting...but alas, they still have a game to play. 

Boston comes into Miami dealing with a mass of injuries after going the first 25 or so games without a problem.  Suddenly things have changed for the Celtics, with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce missing several games over the past couple weeks and Rajon Rondo dealing with hamstring issues, just to name a few. 

Pierce and Rondo are expected back in the lineup, and our old friend Rasheed Wallace will likely be starting in place of Garnett, so it will be no cake walk tonight in South Beach for the good guys. 

For the Heat, Jermaine O'Neal will be a game-time decision dealing with his hip and groin issues.  Should we get the same effort from Joel Anthony and Big Cat Magloire that we did on Monday, things should be all right.  Other then that the lineup should be the same, although there may be some shuffling with the point guards. 

Will Carlos Arroyo start and keep his job with the Heat about to sign Rafer?  Will Chalmers get more minutes, or will he be demoted to the suit-wearing, end of the bench spot that was previously occupied by Chris Quinn, or will that spot go to Arroyo?  The Heat have until 6pm on Wednesday to release Arroyo or they will be obligated to pay his $500,000 salary for this season, which is the same amount that the Heat would be adding to their luxury-tax bill if they do indeed sign Rafer Alston.  Lots of questions will be answered in the next 2 days.

GAME NOTES

  • The Heat have lost 9 of their last 10 against the Celtics, including the first meeting between these two teams this season in November.
  • Last game marked the first time in franchise history that Miami had at least 5 players with 8 or more rebounds. 
  • Eddie House (flu) didn't make the trip to Miami and Kendrick Perkins (illness) will be a game-time decision for the Celtics.
  • Both teams are 1-3 in their last four games, getting a recent win after dropping 3-straight. 

Tipoff form the AAA is set for 7:30.  Who knows...back-to-back home wins against top Eastern Conference teams could be just what nobody was expecting after dropping a game to the previously 1-14 road Bobcats

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