Miami (23-52) at Boston (40-34)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Boston, MA
Temp: 87° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Wed Apr 2, 2003
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Boston Celtics won’t move any closer to a playoff berth if they play like they did the last time they faced the Miami Heat.

The Celtics shot a franchise-worst 27.8 percent from the field (22-of-79) in a 90-70 loss at Miami on Dec. 27. Boston’s previous shooting low of 28.6 also came in a loss to the Heat on Jan. 4, 2002.

“It was a matter of they were hot and we were ice cold,” Celtics coach Jim O’Brien said after the loss.

After losing six straight, Boston won both ends of a home-and-home set with league-worst Cleveland. The Celtics took the opener 104-95 at home on Friday before a 110-106 win at Gund Arena on Saturday.

Paul Pierce just missed a triple-double Saturday with 34 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Antoine Walker added 18 points but was just 8-of-21 from the field.

The win broke a sixth-place tie with Orlando in the Eastern Conference. Boston stands just one-half game behind New Orleans for fifth.

The Celtics will be tested in the season’s closing weeks, as four of their final eight opponents—Sacramento, Philadelphia, Orlando and Detroit—are either in the playoffs or likely to be.

The Heat have dropped five of six and were swept in a home-and-home series by the Milwaukee Bucks. After losing 109-87 on Sunday, Miami put up a much better fight before falling 91-86 at home Monday night.

Eddie House scored 21 points and Rasual Butler and Brian Grant each added 15 for Miami, which played without rookie Caron Butler (sore knee), who scored 59 points in his previous two games.

The Heat begin a tough three-game road trip that also features games at New Jersey and Indiana.

STANDINGS (through March 31): Heat - 7th place, 23 1/2 GB, Atlantic Division. Celtics - 3rd place, 6 GB, Atlantic Division.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Heat - F Rasual Butler, F Grant, C Vladimir Stepania, G Anthony Carter, G Mike James. Celtics - F Walker, F Eric Williams, C Mark Blount, G J.R. Bremer, G Pierce.

TEAM LEADERS: Heat - Caron Butler, 15.6 ppg; Grant, 10.4 rpg; Carter, 4.0 apg. Celtics - Pierce, 25.8 ppg and 7.3 rpg; Walker, 4.6 apg.


LAST MEETING: Dec. 27; Heat, 90-70. At Miami, Eddie Jones scored 28 points and Stepania had 14 points and 14 rebounds to lead Miami. Walker scored 16 points for Boston but was just 5-of-21 from the field, including 1-of-8 from 3-point range.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Heat - 8-29 on the road. Celtics - 23-13 at home.

INJURIES: Heat - F Caron Butler (knee); G Jones (ankle); F Sean Marks (elbow); C Alonzo Mourning (kidney). Celtics - C Bruno Sundov (hamstring).

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