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HHH GameTime Preview: Heat visit Boston

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Miami looks to start another winning streak tonight in the Garden.

NBA: Miami Heat at Boston Celtics Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight at 6:00 PM ET, the Miami Heat will square off against the Celtics at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Tonight’s game will be the fourth and final meeting this regular season between the two. The Celtics swept the first three, 112-104 on November 28th and 105-95 on December 18th in Miami, and 117-114 on December 30th in Boston.

In that last game, on New Years’ Eve (Eve), Isaiah Thomas scored 52 points on 15-of-26 shooting, including nine-of-13 three-pointers and a team-record 29 points in the fourth quarter. He was backed by Al Horford’s 21 points and six rebounds. James Johnson led Miami with 22 points on eight-of-13 shooting off the bench. Josh Richardson scored 19 with eight helpers, six rebounds, four steals and two blocks, and Tyler Johnson also scored 19 points on eight-of-13 shooting off the bench, with six assists and four boards.

I’m not sure there was much we could do more. - Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, on defending Thomas

Miami just finished a five-game homestand, defeating the New Orleans Pelicans, the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Phoenix Suns, and losing to the Portland Trail Blazers and the Toronto Raptors. In that last game, a 101-84 loss, DeMar DeRozan scored 40 points on 14-of-25 shooting, with six rebounds and three assists. Norman Powell scored 14 and Delon Wright also came off the bench to score 13 points. For the Heat, Hassan Whiteside led the way with 16 points, 14 rebounds, and two blocks. Goran Dragic had 13 points with seven rebounds, seven assists and four steals, and James Johnson had 10 points with four boards, three assists, four rejections, and two steals.

No one's going to feel sorry for me. - Whiteside, who spoke to reporters after the game with a bag over his 13-bestitched hand, an icepack on each knee and a compress on his ankle.

Boston is in the fourth game of a six-game homestand. They started it out with three wins, 110-102 against the Washington Wizards last Monday, 109-100 against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, and 130-120 over the Phoenix Suns on Friday. The Celtics won despite 70 points, eight rebounds, and six assists from Devin Booker. Isaiah Thomas scored 34 with seven helpers for Boston, with 15 points each from Al Horford and Gerald Green and 13 each from Jae Crowder and Kelly Olynyk.

It's a zone. It's kind of hard to explain. I've been in those zones before, but never to this extent. - Booker

GameTime: 6PM EST, TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

All-Time Heat-to-Heat: Boston currently holds a 68-to-44 edge in head-to-head play between the Heat and the Celtics. Miami’s .393 winning percentage in those games ranks as their fourth-worst against an NBA foe.

numberFire say: Boston is currently tracking at a 69.1% chance of victory, with a projected Five Stars of Isaiah Thomas, Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic, Al Horford, and Avery Bradley.

Standings

Miami: 35-37, .486, on pace for 40-42 season. Third in the Southeast Division, 9.5 games behind the division leading Wizards. Eighth in the Eastern Conference, 12 games behind the defending NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers. Tied with the Denver Nuggets for 15th in the NBA. Playoff Odds: 62.2%. Last Five: W-W-L-W-L.

Boston: 47-26, .644, on pace for 53-29 season. First in the Atlantic Division, three games ahead of the second place Raptors. Second in the Eastern Conference, 12 games behind the Cavaliers. Fifth in the NBA, 3 12 games behind the Houston Rockets for fourth. Playoff Odds: Clinched. Last Five: W-L-W-W-W.

Probable Starters

Miami Heat
PG - Goran Dragic
SG - Rodney McGruder
SF - Josh Richardson
PF - Luke Babbitt
C - Hassan Whiteside (GTD)

Boston Celtics
PG - Isaiah Thomas
SG - Jaylen Brown
SF - Jae Crowder
PF - Amir Johnson
C - Al Horford