Miami’s three-game winning run was snapped by the Toronto Raptors last Saturday. Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo were spectacular once again, but just couldn’t make crucial buckets to hold off the Raptors. Kyle Lowry has missed the last several games for personal reasons and will still be unavailable against the Boston Celtics.
Boston’s up and down season shows no signs of changing. They’ve alternated between wins and losses in their last three games despite Jayson Tatum playing dazzling basketball. The Boston Celtics hold a 26-25 record and are 9th in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Boston Celtics fought and won against the Miami Heat in their first matchup. Miami had its "Big 3" of Butler, Adebayo and Lowry, all of whom's presence proved futile as the Heat went down 78-95 in that game. Boston is hoping to go 2-0 up in their season series, particularly without Miami’s floor general.
Fixture: Miami Heat vs Boston Celtics | 2021-22 NBA season
Date & Time: Monday, January 31st; 7:30 PM ET (Tuesday, February 1st; 6:00 AM IST)
Venue: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Miami Heat Preview
The Miami Heat are 10-2 in their last 12 games and have been finding ways to win despite injuries and virus protocols hampering the team. Their Big 3 has only seen limited time together, but they still sit atop the East with a 32-18 record. Miami’s roster, which was previously thought of as top-heavy, has proven to be very deep.
Aside from their stars, the Miami Heat have received significant contributions from Max Strus, Gabe Vincent and Caleb Martin. Even without Kyle Lowry, they will be a tough matchup for any team in the league. Miami’s net rating of 4.7 is fifth in the NBA. Considering the limited amount of game time their Big 3 have had together, the Heat's stellar record and level of play have simply been outstanding.
Key Player - Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler, who has been ruled questionable due to a nagging ankle sprain, could miss the game against the Boston Celtics. However, when healthy, no one in the Miami Heat is as important as him. In games Kyle Lowry has missed, Jimmy Butler has become the Miami Heat's de facto point guard.
In the loss to the Raptors, the five-time All-Star controlled the tempo and play of the Miami Heat. Butler filled the stat sheet, finishing with 37 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. He was dominant on both ends of the floor for the Heat. Butler played 52 minutes and ended with a +1 rating despite the loss.
One imagines that Butler will be at the forefront of the Miami Heat's play on both sides of the ball in this encounter.
Miami Heat Predicted Lineup
G - Gabe Vincent | G - Duncan Robinson | F - Jimmy Butler | F - P.J. Tucker | C - Bam Adebayo
Boston Celtics Preview
The Boston Celtics came out firing on all cylinders against the lowly New Orleans Pelicans. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were unstoppable, tallying 38 and 31 points, respectively. The two All-Stars hitting their shots together was a welcome sight for the Celtics’ struggling offense.
Boston’s defense has been the main reason why they are able to compete. They are fourth in the NBA in defensive rating (107.0). On the rare occasion their offense catches up to its stifling defense, the Celtics have been one of the top teams in the league despite their record.
Head coach Ime Udoka vowed to make defense the team’s top priority. For most of the season, they have lived up to their expectations on that. The offense, however, is another story. Despite the presence of Tatum and Brown, it has been dreadful at times. If they can figure out how to execute with more precision and efficiency on offense, they should see themselves climbing the standings quickly.
Key Player - Jayson Tatum
It’s easy to forget that Jayson Tatum is still only 23 years old. Despite being years away from reaching his prime athletic peak, he has continued to play incredible basketball. In the last five games, the two-time All-Star is averaging 34.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.2 assists. He is also shooting 54.9% from the field, including 40% from beyond the arc.
This season, Tatum is showing even more improvements in his rebounding and passing. He has become not just a pure scorer, but a basketball player who dominates in different aspects of the game. The Boston Celtics are a different beast when their ultra-talented leader is playing well.
Boston Celtics Predicted Lineup
G - Marcus Smart | G - Jaylen Brown | F - Jayson Tatum | F - Al Horford | C - Robert Williams III
Heat vs Celtics Match Prediction
It’s difficult to determine what kind of Boston Celtics team will show up on Monday. If they are engaged and play their brand of basketball, they should have more than enough to beat the shorthanded Miami Heat.
Where to watch the Heat vs Celtics game
NBA TV will air the game between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics live. Local coverage of the matchup is available via NBC Sports Boston and Bally Sports Sun/Florida.