National Basketball Association
Boston at Miami
When: 6:00 PM ET, Sunday, December 21, 2014
Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida
The new-look Boston Celtics aim for a season-high fourth straight victory when they travel to Miami to face the struggling Heat on Sunday. The Celtics ran their winning streak to three games with a 114-98 win over Minnesota on Friday — their first game since trading point guard Rajon Rondo to Dallas. The Heat, who squandered a late lead in a 105-103 loss to Washington on Friday, have lost five straight at home and eight of 11 overall.
The Celtics didn't miss Rondo at the offensive end against the Timberwolves, as they shot 56.5 percent and topped 100 points for the third straight game. "We had our ups and downs, but we were just playing together, moving the ball and everyone contributed," Boston center Kelly Olynyk told reporters. "That's a fun way to play." Miami is 4-9 at home, already having matched its loss total from a year ago, which was its highest home loss total since 2010-11.
TV: 6 p.m. ET, CSN New England (Boston), Sun Sports (Miami)
ABOUT THE CELTICS (10-14): Boston adapted well in its first game without Rondo, as six players scored in double figures with Olynyk and leading scorer Jeff Green (19.5 points) leading the way. Reinforcements are on the way, too, with the three players acquired from Dallas — guard Jameer Nelson and forwards Brandan Wright and Jae Crowder — set to join the team. Wright adds depth to an already strong frontcourt that features Jared Sullinger (13.8 points, 8.3 rebounds), Olynyk (11.8 points, 5.7 rebounds) and Tyler Zeller (8.7 points, 5.1 rebounds).
ABOUT THE HEAT (12-15): Miami's frontcourt has been thinned by the loss of forward Josh McRoberts (knee), perhaps for the rest of the season, and the absence of star Chris Bosh (21.6 points, 8.2 rebounds), who has missed the past four games with a calf strain. Those injuries leave the Heat without much of an offensive threat inside, but they still have Dwyane Wade (22.8 points, 5.5 assists) and swingman Luol Deng (14.2 points). Miami has to be better defensively than it was against the Wizards, as the Heat shot 53.3 percent but still lost — dropping to 7-2 when shooting 50 percent or better.
1. Boston has shot 55 percent or better in two straight games after doing so only one previously — in the season opener versus Brooklyn.
2. Miami has used 12 different starting lineups including new ones in each of the past three games.
3. Zeller has averaged 11.5 points and 7.3 rebounds in 11 games since moving into the starting lineup while Olynyk has adjusted to his reserve role, averaging 17.3 points and seven rebounds over the past six games.
PREDICTION: Celtics 102, Heat 99
Stats and Records