Preview: Boston At Miami
When: 7:30 PM ET, Monday, November 30, 2015
Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida
The Miami Heat have been one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference this season but feel there is plenty of room for improvement. The Heat look for their fifth victory in six games when they meet the Boston Celtics on Monday in the opener of a tough four-game homestand.
The schedule ratchets upward for the Heat as Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder and former team standout LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are next on the agenda. “These are the games that I think are very important for us because we consider ourselves an elite team, or at least working to be an elite team,” power forward Chris Bosh told reporters after Sunday’s practice. “And the head-to-head matchups are very important. You always want to measure yourselves against the best.” Boston certainly isn’t an elite team and gave a dreadful performance Sunday while falling 110-91 to the Orlando Magic in the opener of a five-game road trip. The Celtics were outrebounded 54-34, made 5-of-27 3-point attempts and fell to 0-7 when allowing 100 or more points.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, CSN New England (Boston), Sun Sports (Miami)
ABOUT THE CELTICS (9-8): Coach Brad Stevens was disappointed with the effort against Orlando while guard Avery Bradley criticized the club’s lack of urgency and absence of aggressiveness. But forward Jae Crowder delivered the most pointed comments and said players don’t know their roles one month into the season. “We haven’t built our identity yet as a unit. Coaching staff hasn’t figured it out yet,” Crowder told reporters after the contest. “We don’t have set rotations. A lot of guys don’t know where we’re going to play or what time we’re going to play. It’s affecting us a little bit. We’ve got to figure it out as a unit and figure it out as a coaching staff.”
ABOUT THE HEAT (10-5): Veteran small forward Luol Deng (hamstring) is expected to miss his third straight game as he hasn’t yet made significant recovery from the ailment. “I’m not going to want to rush it where I’m not out there helping the team,” Deng told reporters after Sunday’s practice. “We just got to go day-by-day. If I feel great (Monday), and I could play, I’ll go. If it’s the game after, I’ll go. We’re just going to be smart about it.” Gerald Green has started the two games Deng sat out and posted a season-high 25 points in Friday’s win over the New York Knicks.
1. The Heat went 3-1 against the Celtics last season and have won six of the past nine meetings.
2. Miami C Hassan Whiteside had six blocked shots against the Knicks — the fifth time this season he has blocked six or more shots.
3. Boston PG Marcus Smart (calf) will miss his sixth straight game and is expected to be sidelined for another week.
PREDICTION: Heat 112, Celtics 98