The Celtics hope to bounce-back Tuesday against a Heat team that also knows how big the matchup at Miami-Dade Arena will be.
Boston will be short-handed against Miami, but the game marks another chapter in the Celtics-Heat rivalry that has been built through the playoffs.
The two teams have met in the Eastern Conference finals in two of the past three seasons with the Boston and Miami each splitting both series.
“Obviously, it’s history there from before we were here,” Heat center Bam Adebayo said Monday, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel “And some people still carry that weight, and it’s one of those things that you’ve just got to inherit.
“Some people just don’t understand it, they don’t get it. But when the Celtics come in we always try to make it a dogfight.”
The Celtics have the best record in the NBA at 35-13 heading into Tuesday, and the Heat are just one game ahead of the play-in with a 26-22 record.
Jayson Tatum, who suffered an injury scare Monday, will have to lead an undermanned Boston squad, but the Heat still will be expecting the best out of the Celtics no matter who is on the court.
“It’s one of the two teams in the conference that I feel like we see each other every year in the playoffs,” Adebayo said. “I feel like we always see each other. So, for us, us trying to make this push and our playoff run, we’ve got to go through them. So we’re expecting a dogfight, honestly.”
Interim head coach Joe Mazzulla will have to get the Celtics prepared for that “dogfight” if they hope to avoid a two-game losing skid.