After going down 1-0 in the series against the Heat, the Boston Celtics will look to rebound tonight at American Airlines Arena.
The Celtics can expect to get more out of Paul Pierce this time around. The veteran was ejected in the fourth quarter and struggled in the early going.
Boston could have used Pierce after cutting the Heat lead to eight points after trailing by 17 in the fourth quarter.
Pierce still scored 19 points in the game, but his four turnovers got the Heat going in the first half.
Another player who head coach Doc Rivers can count on to step up his game is Rajon Rondo. With Mike Bibby guarding him, Rondo scored only eight points and had five turnovers in Game One. Part of the reason that was the case was that Rondo was in foul trouble, but he didn't seem as focused as he normally is.
The Celtics could also use more defensive pressure on the less prominent players on the Heat.
Sharp-shooting James Jones scored 25 points off the bench, off five-of-seven shooting from beyond the three-point arc, as well has hitting all 10 of his free throws. Jones is an under-rated player, but Boston is to blame for his 25-point night.
The Celtics were able to contain LeBron James and Chris Bosh, but Dwyane Wade had his best scoring game of the playoffs. The All-Star guard scored 38 points on 14-of-21 shooting.
Though the Celtics have plenty of ways to score, Boston will need Pierce to play as he usually does. The Celtics only went to the free-throw line 18 times, and few players in the NBA are better at drawing defenders into fouling them than Pierce.
Rivers may have Shaquille O'Neal in the lineup tonight. It's likely that O'Neal will have little impact on the game, but his presence on the court may provide a major boost for the Celtics on the defensive end.
The Celtics have a fine collection of competitors and veterans, so a rebound from Game One is expected tonight.
PREDICTION: Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo will improve on their Game One performances, and the Celtics will get some help from bench player Jeff Green. However, LeBron James will probably have a big night. But the Celtics' defense will be the reason Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh don't go on scoring sprees.
SCORE PREDICTION: Boston 101, Miami 97