The Celtics got the best of the Miami Heat in their season opener on Oct. 26, overcoming a 31-point performance by King James by making big plays down the stretch and gutting out an 88-80 win. That was back in Boston, though, and the Heat will no doubt be looking for revenge in their building. The Celtics and Heat face off for the second time this season Thursday night, at American Airlines Arena.
Celtics at Heat
Thursday, Nov. 11, 8 p.m. (TNT)
American Airlines Arena, Miami, Fla.
The Celtics' domination of the Heat extends all the way to the beginning of the Big Three era. The C's were 4-0 against Miami in the 2007-08 season, then 3-1 in '08-09, then 3-0 last season. Finally they eliminated the Heat in a five-game playoff series last spring, and they won last month's season opener at the TD Garden. Add it all up — Paul Pierce is 15-2 against the Heat since Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joined him in Boston in the summer of 2007. Not too shabby.
Glen Davis vs. Joel Anthony
There's a good chance that the Celtics get at least one of their "O'Neal brothers," Shaquille or Jermaine, to give them a little something against the Heat on Thursday night. But neither of the banged-up veteran centers is likely to play serious minutes, meaning that Big Baby will take on a big role against the Heat. Against the undersized Anthony, Baby will have a chance to shine. He should get lots of chances to score in the low post, and there's a chance for his energy, both on the glass and in the 50-50 game, to be a major difference-maker.
Point guard: Rajon Rondo
Shooting guard: Ray Allen
Small forward: Paul Pierce
Power forward: Kevin Garnett
Center: Glen Davis
Point guard: Carlos Arroyo
Shooting guard: Dwyane Wade
Small forward: LeBron James
Power forward: Chris Bosh
Center: Joel Anthony
Thursday is Veterans Day, and that being the case, maybe the Celtics' veterans can have a big night against the younger, more athletic Heat. The Celtics are battling injuries to their big men and they've already had a couple of setbacks on the road, but they should be fresh and ready to rumble after two days off. The C's will hope skills, smarts and veteran savvy lead them to a victory over the Heat. It worked last time.