Miami Heat at Boston Celtics
When: 7:30 PM ET, Monday, April 1, 2019
Where: TD Garden, Boston
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
BOSTON – The Miami Heat have been picking on teams below them in the standings over the past week to hold onto the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They’ll try their hand at one of the squads ahead of them in the East when they pay a visit to the Boston Celtics for a critical matchup.
Miami knocked off Washington, Dallas and New York in the final eight days of March and sits a half-game up on ninth-place Orlando in the East. “Nobody’s giving anything up right now,” coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters after the 100-92 win at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, one of five road games in the final seven of the regular season.
“And we can’t expect them to. We’re not begging for somebody else to help us. We have to take care of business. We have to get the job done on our own. And we have that opportunity. Is it an easy road? It’s not an easy road for anybody.”
The Celtics, who visit Miami on Wednesday for the back end of the home-and-home set, dropped a 110-96 decision at Brooklyn on Saturday, their fifth setback in the last seven games. Boston holds down the fourth spot in the East by virtue of a tiebreaker with fifth-place Indiana, which hosts the Celtics on Friday in a game that should go a long way toward determining homecourt advantage in the first round.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBATV, FS Sun (Miami), NBCS Boston
ABOUT THE HEAT (38-38): While Dwyane Wade was showered with praise in his final appearance in Madison Square Garden, teammate Dion Waiters did the bulk of the damage with 28 points, six assists and two steals. Fellow starting guard Goran Dragic added 10 points and 10 assists as he and Waiters continued to gell down the stretch. “Business is booming, 7-Eleven business is booming,” Waiters joked with reporters while referencing the nickname for their backcourt that uses their two numbers. “Once you got that chemistry, nothing else matters.”
ABOUT THE CELTICS (45-32): Boston rested All-Star guard Kyrie Irving and starting center Al Horford on Saturday in Brooklyn and it faded in the second half with fewer available bodies, as the starting five combined to shoot 13-for-42 from the floor. Gordon Hayward scored 19 points off the bench for his fourth consecutive double-digit effort, and he’s shooting 52.4 percent in that span. “I think getting to the rim has been a lot better. I kind of have a little more burst,” Hayward told reporters of his improved play of late. “Still not all the way there, finishing around the rim. I had some buckets today that could have and should have been dunks, but they’re just not there yet. But I think the threat of getting to the rim and being able to get through the cracks and creases a little bit has been better.”
1. The teams split two earlier meetings with the home team winning both times.
2. Celtics PF Daniel Theis scored 16 points — his best total since Feb. 7 — on 7-of-9 shooting in Saturday’s loss.
3. Dragic is averaging 16.5 points, 11.5 assists and seven rebounds over his last two games.