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Preview: Heat look to rebound against Celtics

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The Heat must put last night's tough loss to the Bucks behind them as they face another East team battling for a playoff spot.

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat (32-38) won't have much time to dwell over last night's heartbreaking loss to the Milwaukee Bucks - they're slated to take on the team chasing them in the standings, the Boston Celtics (31-39) less than 24 hours later.

The Heat are just one game ahead of the Celtics in the standings as both teams try to hold off the Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Hornets and the Brooklyn Nets in the race for the playoffs. Isaiah Thomas, who has missed Boston's last eight ames, is listed as probable for Wednesday's showdown.

Boston enters the game with a bit of momentum - after dropping three straight they beat the Nets by 19 on Monday night to right the ship and maintain possession of their playoff spot. Getting Thomas back in addition to Monday's huge win should have the Celtics feeling pretty good.

Miami, meanwhile, probably can't feel much worse. After leading Milwaukee by double digits in the fourth quarter last night the Heat collapsed and ultimately lost on a broken play 3-pointer by Milwaukee's Khris Middleton.

Hassan Whiteside left Tuesday's game with a hand injury and it's uncertain right now if he will be able to suit up against the Celtics.  If Whiteside is unable to go the Heat will need to rely heavily on Chris Andersen and the team's apparent emergency center Michael Beasley.

If the Heat beat the Celtics they will extend their lead over Boston to two games and will win the season series 3-1, giving Miami the tiebreaker if it comes to that.  If the Heat lose, however, Boston will tie the Heat in terms of record AND hold the tiebreaker, as the season series will be 2-2 and Boston owns the next tiebreaker (division record).  It's critical that the Heat regroup and beat Boston as not doing so could have big consequences down the road.

Probable Starters
Avery Bradley PG Goran Dragic
Marcus Smart SG Dwyane Wade
Evan Turner SF Luol Deng
Brandon Bass PF Udonis Haslem
Tyler Zeller C Chris Andersen

Tipoff info:

When: 7:30pm

Where: TD Garden, Boston MA

Coverage: Sun Sports, 790 AM/104.3 FM - The Ticket