COACHING CHANGES EXPANDED MATCHUPS DEPTH CHARTS CURRENT ODDS
NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, March 19th (All times Eastern)
Miami Heat (46-19) at Boston Celtics (22-46), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - LeBron James may have taken his foot off the proverbial gas pedal his last time on the floor, but the Miami Heat don't need the superstar to light up the scoreboard on a nightly basis.
James and the talented cast around him will get back to work Wednesday against the Boston Celtics at TD Bank Garden one night after disposing of the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.
James, the former savior of the Cavaliers, blew away his former team with 25 points in the first quarter of a 100-96 victory. James would finish 14-of-19 from the floor for 43 points -- his largest outburst since a 61-point barrage he dropped on Charlotte March 3.
"When we started the game off, I felt like I could have went for 50 or 60 points. I was just in one of those zones," James said.
He was 6-of-8 from 3-point range for the Heat, winners of two in a row since losing five of six contests. The Heat halted a three-game road slide.
Chris Bosh had 12 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and Ray Allen was the other double-digit scorer with 14 points. Miami's other All-Star Dwyane Wade rested his knees at Cleveland and is expected to return against the Celtics.
The Heat, who have an 11-9 road record against conference foes, are closing in on another Southeast Division title and sit three games behind Indiana for the East's top spot. They will return home Friday to host the Memphis Grizzlies.
Boston's chances of halting a five-game losing streak are slim with the two- time defending NBA champion Heat in town.
The Celtics are coming off back-to-back road losses to New Orleans and Dallas, and recently suffered a 94-89 loss against the Mavericks on Monday. Jerryd Bayless scored 19 points with six assists and rookie Kelly Olynyk had 16 points and nine rebounds off the bench for the Celtics, losers in 12 of the last 15 games.
"I'm frustrated in our lack of success but I'm not frustrated in our effort," said Boston first-year head coach Brad Stevens.
Jeff Green and Brandon Bass scored only five points apiece and Jared Sullinger chipped in 13 points and nine rebounds. Kris Humphries grabbed 14 rebounds in the setback, which marked the first time in franchise history that the team had not won a single game against a Western Conference opponent on the road during a single season.
Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (knee) did not play against Dallas and could return for Wednesday's big game against Miami. Attendance will most likely be a bit higher at TD Bank Garden with the Heat in town and they have split two games in this series already. Both games were in southern Florida.
Boston has lost two straight at home and is 14-21 as the host.
The Heat have won three of the last four tilts with Boston and snapped a 10- game slide in Beantown last March 18 with a 105-103 victory. James is averaging 27.0 ppg against the Celtics in 2013-14.
03/19 10:25:29 ET