Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics Preview and Pick

Miami Heat +6.5 (36-30) at Boston Celtics -6.5 (50-18) O/U 193 7 PM ET Wednesday March 18, 2009
By Jason Green at

Tonight the Miami Heat head to Beantown to take on the Boston Celtics. Things have not been going well lately for the defending champs, as the Celtics are only 4-6 in their last 10 games, have lost 2 in a row, and now trail the Cleveland Cavaliers by 4.5 games in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics are even in jeopardy of losing the number 3 seed in the East, as they are only game up on the 3rd place Orlando Magic. The Celtics really need Kevin Garnett to get back on the court to end their slump. The Heat are currently in the 5th position in the East and they trail the 4th place Atlanta Hawks by 3 games. They need to go on a streak in order to overtake the Hawks so they can host a first round playoff series. The Heat are coming off a loss, but they are playing well lately winning 6 of their last 10 games. The Celtics really need to win this game and stop the bleeding so they do not fall to far behind the Cavs, as home court advantage in the playoffs is huge.

This season the Celtics are 27-6 at home and the Heat are 12-19 in away games.

Hoops bookies have the Celtics as 6.5-point favorites with a total around 193. The Celtics are posted at -220 as home favorites and the Heat are posted at +180 as road dogs.

The Celtics come into this game after losing to the Chicago Bulls 127-121 last night. The high scorer for the Celtics in that game was Paul Pierce going for 34 points on 13/24 shooting. For the game the Celtics shot 43/87 for a FG% of 49.4%. The Celtics broke down on D allowing the Bulls to shoot 44/83 for a FG% of 53%.

The Heat come into this game after losing to the Philadelphia 76ers 85-77 on Sunday. The high scorer for the Heat in that game was Jermaine O’Neal going for 20 points on 7/13 shooting. For the game the Heat shot 28/68 for a FG% of 41.2%. On D the Heat allowed the 76ers to shoot 33/78 from the floor for a FG% of 42.3%.

The Celtics rank 10th in scoring this season (101 ppg) and the Heat rank 18th (98.5 ppg). On D the Celtics rank 2nd in points allowed (92.6 ppg) and the Heat rank 12th (98.5 ppg). Boston is the best team on the glass, as they have a rebounding differential of +5.4 rpg, while the Heat are weak on the boards at -2.8 rpg.

This season the Celtics are 33-33-1 ATS and the Heat are 30-35-1. In terms of Over/Under games this season the Celtics are 31-35-1 and the Heat are 35-29-2.

On the injury front F Leon Powe and P SG Eddie House are day-to-day and SG Tony Allen is Out for the Celtics and SG Daequan Cook is day-to-day for the Heat.

The Celtics are hurting on D without KG and they gave up the most points since they brought in KG and Ray Allen giving up 127 points last night. The Celtics have to regroup tonight with the NBA’s leading scorer Dwayne Wade (29.9 ppg) coming to town.

The Heat lost in their last game, but Jermaine O’Neal looked like he did a couple years back, as he went for 20 points hit the boards. The Heat will need him to play big down the stretch and in the post season.

The Heat will have to play good perimeter D on Paul Pierce (20.4 ppg) and Ray Allen (18.4 ppg) and not let them bomb away from 3-point land.

Kendrick Perkins (8.5 ppg) has to give the Celtics some inside offense, as that will open up the shooting lanes for Allen and Pierce. He also has to play good D on O’Neal and not let him dominate the lane.

The Celtics are banged up in this game, but they have to get some wins before KG comes back, which should be soon.

These 2 teams have split the season series so far winning one game apiece and tonight is the perfect time for the Heat to steal a game in Boston against a depleted Celtics team.

Jason’s Pick: The Celtics have a ton of injury issues tonight. Take the Heat and those tasty points.