After going 2-4 in a six game East road trip, the Miami Heat should be happy to be home. Though it's not usual to have such a long road trip, and then play the tail end of a back-to-back at home.
It was a rough trip for the Heat, losing it's first three games of the trip to New York, Brooklyn and Washington. Miami then got wins against Philadelphia and Charlotte before losing to the Atlanta Hawks last night. In the losses, it has been the defense giving for the Heat, allowing over 100 points in each loss, including 121 to the Hawks. In the two wins, they held the opponent under 100.
At 29-12, the Heat are one game above last season's pace, and at the midway point of the season are in decent shape. They have some work to do, but they are far above the rest of the East...except the Indiana Pacers, who are going to make it extremely difficult for the Heat to catch them as they play each night like it's the playoffs. The Pacers improved to 33-7 last night in Oakland.
Miami's opponent, the Boston Celtics, are 14-28 and just helped the Heat make a trade last week. While unloading the contracts of Jordan Crawford and Marshon Brooks to the Warriors, the Heat traded Joel Anthony to the Celtics and got Toney Douglas in return from Golden State. Joel returns for the first time tonight to Miami in an NBA uniform other than the Heat.
The Celtics after a solid start have lost 14 of their last 16 games, including a 2 point loss Sunday in Orlando against the Magic. They are led by Jeff Green at 15.8 PPG. Under Green's last second fadeaway three, the Celtics left Miami with a win earlier this season. The Celtics have four players who average in double figures. They are a top 10 team in points allowed, but offensively struggled near the bottom in many categories.
The Heat should be able to close the rebounding gap it has with most teams, and if they come out with energy, be able to secure this game and get back on track. Erik Spoelstra knows that they need to get back to their identity to start playing the way they are capable of. After last night's win he said, "We have to play much better tomorrow night (vs Boston). We have to defend the way we're capable of."
Make sure you check back here before game-time for our GameThread to chat about it all.