On the second night of a back-to-back, the Miami Heat will welcome the rival Boston Celtics to the Kaseya Center in an Eastern Conference Finals rematch. The game tonight will be nationally televised on TNT.
Miami heads into the matchup going through their roughest stretch of the entire season, dropping four games in a row and a 4-6 record over their last ten.
The Boston Celtics are the top team in the standings throughout both conferences, sporting an elite 34-10 record.
The Heat are now 24-20 and are going through some serious team-wide offensive issues. All of their shooting efficiency numbers have gone way down compared to the first couple months of the season during this stretch.
Every possession is seeming like a grind.
Which is tough to make sense, considering Miami has four 20+ PPG scorers now in Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and newly acquired Terry Rozier. They also have three guys averaging over 10.0 PPG in Duncan Robinson, Caleb Martin and Jaime Jaquez Jr.
Although, Jaquez Jr. has missed a decent amount of games recently and is still listed as out for tonight’s marquee matchup with that groin injury. This will be his 5th missed game in a row.
Kevin Love also left last night’s game early due to a stomach illness and is listed as Questionable heading into tonight.
The most plausible reason for these offensive issues is simply the chemistry and comfortability. The ‘big three’ of Butler, Adebayo and Herro have played around just 10 games together all season long due to injuries.
Adding a score-first new PG in Rozier also adds onto that.
Rozier played off the bench in his Heat debut last night and registered 9 PTS, 5 RBS, 4 ASTS and 2 STLS in 29 minutes.
Do not expect Rozier to be in a bench role moving forward, as several Heat sources and insiders made it clear that last night could have been a one time thing with Rozier getting bench minutes.
Rozier hasn’t even been in Miami a full 24 hours prior to last night’s tip off. Being the orchestrator to the offense as a PG and learning new plays and schemes could be a lot, so Coach Spoelstra opted to do it the right way by easing him into the rotation on his first night.
It was reported that Rozier is likely going to be in the starting unit for tonight’s game against his former Boston squad.
As most Heat fans already know, the Celtics can very much be a serious problem.
Jayson Tatum is putting together an MVP caliber season once again, along with their super strong core of Jaylen Brown, Derrick White and newcomers Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday.
Tatum and Brown are always going to be on Miami’s scouting report no matter what, but White especially has had some of his best career performances against the Miami Heat.
It will be crucial in trying to limit him offensively and will be a big test for Tyler Herro on the defensive end.
Injury Report (at the time of this publishing):
- Kevin Love (illness) — Questionable
- Jaime Jaquez Jr. (groin) — OUT
- Dru Smith (knee) — OUT
- JD Davison (g league) — OUT
- Drew Peterson (g league) — OUT
Projected Starting 5 (subject to change):
- Terry Rozier, G
- Tyler Herro, G
- Jimmy Butler, F
- Haywood Highsmith, F
- Bam Adebayo, C
- Jrue Holiday, G
- Derrick White, G
- Jaylen Brown, F/G
- Jayson Tatum, F
- Kristaps Porzingis, C
- Check the current odds out at FanDuel!
- Tipoff: 7:30 PM EST
- TV: TNT
- Radio: AM 560 Sports WQAM & The HEAT Radio Network (Jason Jackson)
- Spanish Radio: WAQI 710 AM & The HEAT Spanish Radio Network (José Pañeda)
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