After notching win in Boston, Heat look to deny Celtics road-trip advantage

MIAMI — Conventional wisdom is that the home team has an advantage. Conventional wisdom does not apply to the Celtics in the playoffs.

Boston is 14-7 in its last 21 road playoff games, including five of seven games in Miami and a road win over the Heat in Game 7 of the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals.

So, coming off a needed road win over their own on Wednesday, the Heat will try to flip the script on the top-seeded Celtics and take a lead in the series in Games 3 (Saturday at 6 p.m.) and 4 (Monday at 7 or 7:30 p.m.).

“We know what Boston’s going to come in here with,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Even knowing that, it’s hard to create that edge, that urgency, all that. We had an unbelievable sense of urgency after Game 1 of getting absolutely embarrassed and feeling a certain way about that. And having that extra day to sit with that was horrible. And that can be motivating.

“I’m sure Boston feels the same way. We’re going to have to beat them, I’m sure, at their best version of what they bring.”

The Heat have not been bad on the road in crucial games, either. Last year, they went 7-6 in road playoff games. They picked up a series-clinching, overtime win against the Bucks in the opening round as well as two series-opening wins and a Game 7 against the Celtics in the TD Garden. In this opening series against the Celtics, they split the first two games on the road.

“I think just staying steady,” said forward Caleb Martin, who scored 21 points and drained five three-pointers in Miami’s win on Wednesday. I think a lot of it (is) you know what type of environment it’s going to be. It’s going to be a lot of runs, especially in that building. The basket can get eight feet wide sometimes for them. I think just staying steady, just knowing they’re going to have those runs and knowing it’s going to be explosive. As long as we just stay steady, mentally, we’ll be alright.”

Although the Celtics were favored to win the series, the Heat’s victory in Game 2 threw a wrench in Boston’s coronation. A back-and-forth series should be expected with these two teams, though. Miami and Boston have faced off six previous times in the postseason since 2010; the Heat have won four series to the Celtics’ two, and the last four playoff series have gone six or seven games.

“That goes back to, obviously, when the Big 3 was here,” center Bam Adebayo said. “It just is what it is. It’s a great rivalry. You know it’s going to be a dogfight series every time.”

If the Heat are going to win this series, they will need to go back to Boston at least once.

“You’ve got to come in there with that mentality that whoever gets on that bus, that’s who’s got your back,” Adebayo said. “That’s how you’ve got to look at it: going into the lion’s den.”

But before that, the Heat know they will get the Celtics’ best punch in Miami.

“It goes both ways,” Martin said. “Just like you feed off your home crowd, one of the best feelings in the game is to go into somebody else’s place, especially a hostile environment, and leave with a win. They’re going to try to do the same.”