The Miami Heat host the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night in a high-profile matchup between two playoff-bound Eastern-Conference squads.
The season series is split, as Miami defeated Boston, 115-107, on Dec. 27, but fell at TD Garden, 91-72, on April 1.
With 11 games remaining on their schedule, the Heat have a 40-15 record, and are in second place behind the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference. They have won six of their last 10 games and feature perhaps the most dangerous tandem in the league in LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
The Celtics are in what could be the final hurrah for the Big Three: Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Boston are the fourth seed in the East after a rocky start to the season, but appear to be finding their stride after winning seven of their last 10 games.
A player to keep an eye on is Avery Bradley. The second-year guard kept Wade in check in the last meeting, which included a jaw-dropping block on the All-Star. It will be interesting to see how Wade, who was does when being guarded by Bradley.
Miami will also pay special attention to Rajon Rondo. The clever point guard blew up the Heat with a triple-double in their last meeting and the Heat's lack of a defensive stalwart at the point gives him an opportunity to shine.
Where to watch: The game can be viewed online at http://nbaliveonline.com/streaming/. It will also be broadcast nationally on ESPN at 7 PM ET.
Odds: Miami -7.5
Vegasinsider.com says the betting opened with the Heat at -6.5. It almost immediately moved to -7.5 before falling back to -7. It has gone back to -7.5 since about 11 AM today.
Prediction: Look for the Heat to come out very strong early to avenge some bitter memories from the loss earlier this month. Miami should defend their home court thanks to Wade and James stepping up and scoring more than the combined 38 points they did in the last meeting against Boston. An improved Miami defensive effort should keep the Celtics from having all five starters in double figures, as well.
Predicted Score: Miami over Boston, 95-90