After an impressive overtime that gave Miami a victory and 3-1 series advantage in Game 4, the Heat now return home to the AAA and will attempt to close out the Boston Celtics. While there are several signs that point to a Heat victory, I'm not about to write off the team that has dominated the Eastern Conference for the past few years.
Of all the things that could give Miami an edge, I'd say the most significant one would be that Boston is going to play their 3rd game in 5 nights. We saw how well they played after the 3 day gap between Game 2 and Game 3, and then how they tailed off towards the end of Game 4, so we'll see if age and fatigue are in fact going to make a difference for the Celtics when their facing elimination for the first time since Game 7 of last years NBA Finals.
You would think that Miami is going to need someone other then the Big 3 to step up, but after what happened in Game 4 then who knows. Only Wade, Bosh and LeBron scored for the Heat in the 4th quarter and overtime and the three combined to score 83 of Miami's 98 points and they collected 35 of Miami's 45 rebounds. Imagine what will happen if one of our bench players has a good game, as we have seen from Mario Chalmers and James Jones earlier in the playoffs.
Erik Spoelstra is going to roll with the same starting lineup that he used in Game 4, beginning the game with Joel Anthony at center. Joel played 30 minutes on Monday night and did his usual superb defensive job while the former starting center, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, played just 3 minutes. Coach Spo also intends to keep working Udonis Haslem back into the rotation after UD played 2 minutes and 46 seconds in his first appearance since late November.
- The Heat is now 30-3 when the Big 3 combine to score at least 75 points.
- Dwyane Wade has scored in double figures in 72 consecutive playoff games, all with the Heat, a franchise record.
- LeBron James has scored in double figures in all 80 playoff games that he has played in.
- In NBA history, there have been 199 teams that been down 3 games to 1. Only 8 have come back to win the series.
- Of those 8 times, Boston has done it twice. In 1968 and 1981, both coming against the Philadelphia 76ers.
- Mike Bibby has started all 89 playoff games that he has appeared in.
- Dating back to last season, Miami has won 6 straight home playoff games.
- I don't think I've done one of these where I had no Heat injuries to report, but that's the case today!
- For Boston, Rajon Rondo (elbow) and Delonte West (shoulder) are probable.
Tipoff from the AAA is set for 7pm. The game will be televised nationally on TNT. Lucky me, I'm covering the Marlins game so I'll be watching the Heat from the pressbox at Sun Life Stadium...but hey, at least they have TV's in there! Lets Go Heat!!