The Miami Heat will try to even out their season series against the Boston Celtics, when the two Eastern Conference powerhouses meet on April 24.
A win against Boston will certainly be a morale boost for the Heat, considering how dominant the Celtics have been in the last two encounters between the two rivals. The Celtics shredded Miami's defense during the April 10 encounter between the teams, shooting 61 percent from the field.
For moment, it looked like the Heat were on their way to securing the top spot in the Eastern Conference rankings, but the Washington Wizards derailed their plans on April 21. However, the Heat bounced right back in their next game against the Houston Rockets (thanks to LeBron James' 32 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists), so they'll have a little momentum going into their game against the Celtics.
Miami guard Dwyane Wade is still recovering from his dislocated finger, and he probably won't suit up against the Celtics. Miami coach Erik Spoelstra will also try to rest some of the Heat's players, as the 2011/12 NBA season draws to an end.
"There always is [a delicate balance] this time of year for everybody," Spoelstra told reporters. "Coaching staffs secretly hope you are playing for something because it takes the decision-making out of it. We want to make sure we're playing at a high level [come the playoffs]. We've taken that step forward in the last 10 days. We want to continue to build confidence."
Miami fans might be bummed about the fact the Heat will probably have to settle for the second seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, but that might just turn out to be a blessing in disguise. If the current playoff picture holds, the Heat will have the easier road to the conference finals - compared to the Chicago Bulls and Celtics, who'll probably have to square up in the second round.
Player and game information from ESPN.com
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