The Miami Heat have been massively underwhelming this campaign, winning only four of their eight games; they are nowhere close to their last season form that saw them make the finals. Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics are soaring high with a 7-3 record, which is the joint-best in the East this season.
In their first game with the Miami Heat this season, the Boston Celtics held on for a narrow 107-105 win. Payton Pritchard made the winning play down the stretch, helping the Boston Celtics take revenge for their postseason exit at the expense of the Miami Heat last season. Jayson Tatum had a team-high 27 points on the night, and Jaylen Brown chipped in with 21 points.
For the Miami Heat, it was the usual suspect, Jimmy 'Buckets' Butler, who scored 26 points in 33 minutes. The Miami Heat had five players who scored in double digits, but that eventually proved to be not enough for a win.
The Miami Heat have not reported any major injuries for this matchup and should take advantage of a short-handed Boston Celtics, who will be without Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Tristan Thompson, Semi Ojeleye and Javonte Green due to COVID-19 protocols.
Fixture: Miami Heat vs Boston Celtics - NBA Season 2020-21.
Date & Time: Sunday, January 10th, 2021, 7:00 PM ET. (Sunday 5:30 AM IST).
Venue: TD Garden, Boston, MA.
Miami Heat Preview
The Miami Heat have admittedly played poor defense this season and need to tighten things up as they go forward. Their lackluster defense is one of the primary reasons for games slipping out of their hand in the fourth quarter.
The Miami Heat are .500 for the season ahead of their rematch with the Boston Celtics, who have emerged as one of the top contenders in the East this season.
Last season's finalists could have their hands full in this game, as the Boston Celtics are playing like a cohesive unit that haven't let up much.
Key Player - Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler could be the key player for the Miami Heat heading into their matchup against what appears to be a severely shorthanded Boston Celtics.
He was a key player in the Miami Heat's successful playoffs run last year. Butler helped the Heat thrash the Boston Celtics in the Conference Finals en route to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the LA Lakers 4-2.
This season, the player has averaged 15.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.3 assists in six games thus far. He is shooting the ball at 44% from the field and a solid 93% from the free-throw line.
Miami Heat Predicted Lineup
G: Duncan Robinson; G: Tyler Herro; F: Jimmy Butler; F: Kelly Olynyk; C: Bam Adebayo.
Boston Celtics Preview
The Boston Celtics are off to a great start this season, winning seven of their ten games to surge to the top of the Eastern Conference table. The driving force behind their stellar play has been team-first basketball and hustle during key moments in games.
The Celtics are coming off a big 116-107 win against the Washington Wizards. They entered the game with offense in their mind, blitzing the Wizards with 64 points in the first half.
Jayson Tatum had a team-high of 32 points to go with five rebounds and two assists. Jaylen Brown had a terrific outing as well, as he posted 27 points to go with 13 boards for the night. Barring any major injury or COVID-19 related issues, the Boston Celtics are looking good for a deep playoffs run this season.
Key Player - Marcus Smart
As the Boston Celtics will probably miss their leading stars in this game, the position for the key player is up for grabs for the rest of their cast.
Marcus Smart, who is the third most productive asset after Tatum and Brown, could get the nod in this regard. However, Smart will need to step up and lead his side against the Miami Heat, who will be rolling in with a complete roster.
Marcus Smart has played well for the Boston Celtics this season. He is averaging 12.2 points, 6.4 assists and 2.8 rebounds in nine games so far. Smart is known for his defensive abilities and could make for a fun matchup against a loaded Miami Heat backcourt.
Boston Celtics' Predicted Lineup
G: Payton Pritchard; G: Marcus Smart; F: Aaron Nesmith; F: Tacko Fall; C: Daniel Theis.
Heat vs Celtics Match Prediction
With the Boston Celtics low on numbers and clarity on their starting five, they could be easy pickings for last season's finalists, the Miami Heat. However, a loss against the Boston Celtic's second unit could cast a doubt on the Miami Heat's future prospects. So, in a way, it's a must-win game for the embattled Miami Heat.
Where to watch Heat vs Celtics?
Local coverage of the game will be available on NBC Sports Boston and Fox Sports Sun. You can also live-stream the same via the NBA League Pass.Published 10 Jan 2021, 19:47 IST