The C's are returning home Wednesday, and they're all set to meet up with the Miami Heat for the last time this season. Their three-game losing skid from last week is in the history books, and now they'll look to build a winning streak and get momentum moving in a positive direction. And against Dwyane Wade and the Heat, they've been unstoppable over the past few years.
Wednesday, Feb. 3, 8 p.m. ET (ESPN)
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.
Celtics (30-16, first place in Atlantic Division, third place in Eastern Conference)
Heat (24-24, fourth place in Southeast Division, seventh place in Eastern Conference)
Here's a nice stat: Since April 16, 2007, the Celtics have won 10 of 11 meetings with the Heat. Their only loss came in Miami last March, 107-99, when Wade went off for 32 points and carried the Heat to victory.
The Celtics have already beaten Miami twice on the road this season, including a dramatic overtime win in which Wade exploded for 44 and the undaunted Celtics won anyway. The C's have had Miami's number, plain and simple.
How's this for a first-round playoff series? Three versus six? The explosive, energetic Heat against the methodical, fundamentally sound Celtics? This is a fun matchup to watch, and it's one we could see in the postseason this year with both teams looking playoff-bound. This could be Wade's last year in Miami, so the Heat are putting it all together this season and making the most of it. Expect the Heat to surprise some people down the stretch this year.
Point guard: Rajon Rondo
Shooting guard: Ray Allen
Small forward: Paul Pierce
Power forward: Kevin Garnett
Center: Kendrick Perkins
Point guard: Rafer Alston
Shooting guard: Dwyane Wade
Small forward: Quentin Richardson
Power forward: Michael Beasley
Center: Joel Anthony
The Celtics are 7-6 against the Southeast Division this season, thanks mostly to four losses to the Atlanta Hawks.
The Celtics are shooting 34.9 percent from three-point range this season, below the league average.
Rajon Rondo had 17 points and 12 assists Monday against Washington for his 21st double-double of the season.
Kevin Garnett is shooting 54.5 percent this season, a career-best.
Kendrick Perkins is averaging exactly 2.0 blocks per game for the second consecutive season.
Paul Pierce averaged 20.8 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in January.
Ray Allen has averaged 20.8 points per game in 37 career meetings with the Heat.
The Heat are 11-20 this season against winning teams.
They have allowed only 901 assisted field goals this season. Only the Celtics (860) and Spurs (880) have given up fewer.
Dwyane Wade ranks fifth in the NBA — behind Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant — with 27.0 points per game.
Joel Anthony has blocked 7.3 percent of shots taken against the Heat while he's on the floor. That's an NBA-best percentage.
Udonis Haslem leads the Heat with 7.3 rebounds per contest.
Michael Beasley has averaged 17.1 points per game this season on the road.
Rafer Alston has started all 15 games since coming to the Heat last month. He has averaged 6.9 points.
Paul Pierce is day-to-day with a mid-foot strain. The team has not ruled out the possibility of him playing Wednesday.
Marquis Daniels is nearing a return from his recent left thumb surgery.
Jermaine O'Neal is questionable for Wednesday's game with back spasms.
Mario Chalmers is out indefinitely with a partially torn ligament in his left thumb.
In 1980, Larry Bird plays in the first All-Star Game of his career. Bird hits the game's first 3-pointer and goes on to finish with seven points in 23 minutes off the bench. Celtics teammate Tiny Archibald shoots 0-for-8 from the floor. The East wins the game in overtime, 144-136.
"I think it's not going to be too bad. I would have known by now. I have a really good sense of my body and usually how I feel [with] injuries, so I think it will be all right."
–Paul Pierce, in a CSNNE.com report, on the state of his strained foot sustained in the Celtics' Monday win over Washington
The Celtics are back on track.
Paul Pierce could be just fine.
Danny Ainge laughs off trade rumors.
The Heat lost to the Bucks again.
It only gets tougher from here.
Dwyane Wade in Boston?
LeBron James led the Cavs to their ninth straight win.
Kevin Durant builds an MVP case.
The Stephon Marbury era is under way in China.
If the Celtics want to build their confidence this February, they'll have to build a win streak first. They took care of business against Washington on Monday night — can they get the job done against Miami too? If so, they'll be well on their way toward getting back in the hunt in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics are better than the third- or fourth-best team in the East this season, and they're ready to prove it. A win over the Heat now would surely help.
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