LeBron James and the 28-12 Miami Heat will face the 20-23 Boston Celtics, led by Rajon Rondo. The showdown takes place at the TD Garden 1:00 EST live on ABC. It is the second of three meetings between the two rival teams who met in the last Eastern Conference Finals. Dousing the flames to their rivalry is the fact that both teams are going in two different directions.
Before the season began, many NBA fans felt the Eastern Conference would be decided between these two teams as it did in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals. While the Heat has lived up to the hype, the Celtics have struggled.
After winning six consecutive games, the Celtics find themselves reeling, losing six straight. The momentum they built on their win streak was lost during this slide. The Celtics are sitting in the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, only two games ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers, with the Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors in the hunt.
The game against the Heat is a must-win for the Celtics.
The Heat enters the contest as winners of four in a row, but they have had their problems on the road. They are 10-9 on the road with some of their losses coming from teams who are under .500, such as the Pistons and Washington Wizards.
The Heat will look to impose their will in what is certain to be an emotional game. The game marks the first time Heat shooting guard Ray Allen faces his former club in Boston.
Many of the NBA offseason headlines were about Allen leaving the Celtics to join forces with LeBron, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, in Miami. Allen returns to a place where he won an NBA title, but when left, there was some bad blood between him and several members of the Celtics. In the first meeting between the two teams, Celtics power forward Kevin Garnett refused to acknowledge Allen prior to the game. Allen’s TD Garden return will be an intriguing one.
The Celtics cannot allow the emotions of this matchup to best them, as the Heat will look to add another L to their misery.
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