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Game #54: Miami Heat (39-14) vs. Boston Celtics (38-14)

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D-Wade is ready to head north to Boston
D-Wade is ready to head north to Boston

In what's being billed as the biggest regular season game in recent history, the Heat will take their talents back to Boston for an afternoon showdown with the Celtics.  The timing couldn't be more prefect.  Miami has been picking up steam and after their win over the lowly Pistons on Friday, moved into the top spot in the Eastern Conference. 

That has as much to do with the Heat playing well as it does with Boston struggling of late.  Miami is on an 8-game winning streak and has been better then any team in the NBA since the beginning of December.  Boston meanwhile has lost 3 of their last 4, with two of those losses coming at home to the Lakers and Mavs.

Granted, I would like to play Boston when they are at their best because that would be a true test for the Heat, but that doesn't mean a win on Sunday wouldn't be awesome.  Should Miami prevail, they would only have to win one of their remaining two games (at Indiana, at Toronto) to have the Eastern Conference's best record heading into the All-Star break. 

It's been over three months since the Heat and Celtics have played each other.  The season opener on October 26th that Boston took 88-80, then a couple weeks later on November 11th when Miami lost at home 112-107.  Obviously the Heat are a much better, more cohesive unit since back then, which is why this game carries a bit more importance then the previous matchups. 

GAME NOTES

  • This is the 2nd game of a 4-game road trip that takes the Heat into the All-Star break.
  • Miami is 30-6 in their last 36 games; better then any team in the NBA over the same stretch of games. 
  • Ray Allen is now the all-time NBA leader in 3-point shooting, passing Reggie Miller during Boston's loss to the Lakers earlier this week. 
  • The Heat has lost 6 of their last 7 games against Boston, including last year's playoffs. 
  • Udonis Haslem (foot) remains out for the Heat. 
  • Boston's injured list is a bit longer.  Former Heat centers Shaquille O'Neal (leg) and Jermaine O'Neal (knee) are out, as is Semith Erden (foot), Marquis Daniels (back) and Delonte West (wrist).  Nate Robinson (knee) is probable. 

Tipoff from the TD Garden is at 1pm.  The game will be nationally televised on ABC.