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Game Nine Preview: Heat Invade Beantown

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The Heat are looking for payback against the Celtics on Sunday night.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Miami Heat Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight at 7:30PM EST, the Miami Heat will take on the Boston Celtics at a mostly empty TD Garden.

The Heat have started the 2020-21 season by alternating wins and losses. Tonight’s contest will be the second game of a four-game roadtrip for Miami. They started last night with a 128-124 win over the Washington Wizards. After tonight’s contest, they’ll play two games against the 76ers in Philadelphia, on Tuesday and Thursday.

In last night’s victory, Jimmy Butler scored 26 points with 10 rebounds and nine assists. Tyler Herro scored a game-high 31 with nine rebounds, Bam Adebayo grabbed 16 rebounds in 21 minutes, and Goran Dragić sunk seven-of-nine from deep.

This team has a very deep roster. Any given night, anyone can score. I’m not really worried about the numbers. — Tyler Herro, quoted by Rich Dubroff, Associated Press

The Boston Celtics have started their season by winning seven against three losses. They also defeated the Washington Wizards in their latest game, by a 116-107 final on Friday. After tonight’s game, they’ll visit Chicago to play the Bulls on Tuesday.

In the Celtics win over the Wizards, Jayson Tatum led the way with 32 points and five rebounds. Jaylen Brown scored 27 with 13 rebounds and five assists, and Daniel Theis scored 10 with six boards. They were victorious despite being shorthanded due to COVID related restrictions.

Our job’s not to make excuses for who’s not here. It’s to play as well as we can with who is and let the results take care of themselves. — Celtics coach Brad Stevens, quoted by Kyle Hightower, AP Sports Writer

The last time the Heat and Celtics played was just four days ago, when Boston slapped the Heat with a 107-105 loss at the literal last second. Jimmy Butler led Miami with 26 points and eight rebounds, and Bam Adebayo scored 15 with 10 dimes and eight boards.

Tip your hat to all the pros in both locker rooms. It’s legitimate that everybody does have a lot on their mind and heavy hearts, disappointment, discouragement, all of these different emotions. - Heat coach Erik Spoelstra to Tim Reynolds, AP Basketball Writer

All-Time Head-to-Head

The Heat own a 48-76 record against Boston. Their .387 winning percentage is their worst against an Eastern Conference foe.

Standings

Miami Heat: 4-4, .500, on pace for 36-36. Tied for second in the Southeast Division, tied for seventh in the Eastern Conference, tied for 14th in the NBA. Last Five: W-L-W-L-W. Playoff Odds: 83 percent.

Boston Celtics: 7-3, .700, on pace for 50-22. Tied for first in the Atlantic Division, tied for first in the Eastern Conference, tied for first in the NBA. Last Five: L-W-W-W-W. Playoff Odds: 98 percent.

Around the NBA

Last Night

Dallas Mavericks 112, Orlando Magic 98
San Antonio Spurs 125, Minnesota Timberwolves 122
Milwaukee Bucks 100, Cleveland Cavaliers 90
Miami Heat 128, Washington Wizards 124
Phoenix Suns 125, Indiana Pacers 117
Charlotte Hornets 113, Atlanta Hawks 105
Denver Nuggets 115, Philadelphia 76ers 103
Portland Trail Blazers 125, Sacramento Kings 99

Other action today

Utah Jazz at Detroit Pistons, 3PM
Chicago Bulls at Los Angeles Clippers, 4PM
Oklahoma City Thunder at Brooklyn Nets, 6PM
Denver Nuggets at New York Knicks, 6PM
Los Angeles Lakers at Houston Rockets, 7PM
San Antonio Spurs at Minnesota Timberwolves, 8PM
Toronto Raptors at Golden State Warriors, 8:30PM

Combined Team Leaders

Points: Jayson Tatum - 26.9, Jaylen Brown - 26.3, Bam Adebayo - 17.4, Jimmy Butler - 15.8, Tyler Herro - 15.6

Rebounds: Bam Adebayo - 9.0, Tristan Thompson - 8.5, Jayson Tatum - 7.1, Tyler Herro - 6.8, Robert Williams III - 6.5

Assists: Marcus Smart - 6.4, Jimmy Butler - 5.3, Bam Adebayo - 5.0, Goran Dragić - 5.0, Tyler Herro - 3.9

Steals: Jimmy Butler - 2.2, Jaylen Brown - 1.7, Jeff Teague - 1.6, Marcus Smart - 1.6, Payton Pritchard - 1.3

Blocks: Tacko Fall - 2.5, Robert Williams III - 1.5, Bam Adebayo - 1.0, Daniel Theis - 1.0, Kelly Olynyk - 0.9

Injury Report

Boston Celtics:

Romeo Langford had wrist surgery and will likely miss the season. Kemba Walker is still out with left knee problems, but is making progress. Jayson Tatum, Tristan Thompson, Grant Williams, and Robert Williams are all out due to COVID safety protocols.

Miami Heat:

Gabe Vincent is still listed as day-to-day with his knee problem, but is listed as having probable availability.

Odds

The Heat are currently favored by three, with an over-under of 218 points according to Sportsline.

Gametime: 7:00PM ET, NBC Sports Boston, Fox Sports Sun, 98.5 The Sports Hub, WAXY 790, WAQI 710

Starting Lineup

Miami Heat

PF - Bam Adebayo
C - Kelly Olynyk
SF - Jimmy Butler
SG - Duncan Robinson
PG - Tyler Herro

Boston Celtics

This is really a shot in the dark, because they got so many unavailable, but here’s my best guess.

PG - Marcus Smart
SG - Jeff Teague
SF - Aaron Nesmith
PF - Daniel Theis
C - Tacko Fall

Common Thread

Avery Bradley spent his first seven NBA seasons playing for the Celtics. In 413 games, he averaged 12.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.7 assists.

Kelly Olynyk played the first four of his eight NBA seasons with Boston. In 278 games, he averaged 9.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.7 assists.