A lot may have changed for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat since they last lost to the Celtics on Nov. 11, but one thing hasn’t. Unless they find a way to defeat the Cs in the TD Garden on Sunday afternoon, it’ll be nearly impossible for the Heat to definitively claim to be the East’s best come the end of the regular season.
For Boston, a win would not only mean a season sweep of the Heat, but it would also restore them as leaders in the race for the top seed in the East, a title recently usurped by Miami. A loss, though, would surely call the strength of the Celtics’ home-court advantage into question, given the recent defeats at the hands of the Lakers and Mavericks at the Garden.
The Heat, 30-6 in their past 36, have in fact improved dramatically since the first two meetings between the teams — getting Mike Miller back up to speed, improving team chemistry and the play of the supporting cast, and enjoying a suddenly MVP-caliber season from LeBron. Still, their weakness in the low post will now be faced with even greater pressure, as Kendrick Perkins will participate in the rivalry for the first time this season.
Join NESN.com assistant editor Nick Coman in following the action in an interactive live chat below.
Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. Chat will begin at 12 p.m.. The Celtics’ live blog can be found here.