Boston Celtics (40-38) at Miami Heat (62-16), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Miami Heat have had the luxury of resting some key
contributors lately, but will get a boost Friday versus the Boston Celtics on
the shores of Biscayne Bay.
In fact, it's all about rest and relaxation these days for the reigning NBA
champions as they prepare to defend their title come playoff time. But now
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh will be back on the floor together
versus the Celtics.
James, Wade and Bosh have not played together since March 29 against New
Orleans -- two days after the team's 27-game winning streak ended in Chicago.
The Heat took care of business on Wednesday in the nation's capital without
the Big Three, halting Washington's nine-game home winning streak with a
Ray Allen scored 23 points in that one as James (hamstring), Wade (ankle) and
Bosh (knee) sat with various aches and pains.
Miami, though, was still able to hold its own and take the victory, its 62nd
of the season, breaking the franchise's single-season record set in 1996-97.
In addition, the Heat also clinched the best record in the NBA and home-court
advantage throughout the entire NBA Playoffs.
Rashard Lewis scored 17 points, Shane Battier added 15 points and Mike Miller
had 14 points and eight rebounds for Miami against the Wizards, who were
looking to win their 10th straight game at home for the first time since Dec.
13, 2006 - Jan 20, 2007.
"Between the streak (Miami's impressive 27-game run earlier this season) and
now this, if we do our job it will be something nice to look back on," said
Meanwhile, James has missed four of the team's last six games to rest an
ailing hamstring. He played last Saturday against Philadelphia and again on
Tuesday against Milwaukee before sitting out Wednesday.
"I need to be at full strength by next weekend (for the start of the
playoffs)," said James on Friday. "That's the only thing I'm concerned about."
Wade, meanwhile, has missed six games because of an ankle injury.
"I'm excited to play basketball," said Wade after Friday's shootaround. "It's
time I get back on the court."
Bosh has missed the past three games with a knee issue and illness.
The Heat will play Friday without Udonis Haslem and Shane Battier.
Boston is also playoff bound and is currently the seventh seed in the East, 2
1/2 games behind Atlanta and three clear of eighth place Milwaukee with four
games to play.
The Celtics, who are trying to avoid a perilous first round matchup with the
Heat, just split wins and losses on a four-game homestand, ending it with a
101-93 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday.
Paul Pierce hit 7-of-11 shots from the floor to finish with a game-high 23
points for Boston in the setback.
In his second game back after missing eight games due to injury, Kevin Garnett
dropped in 11 points to go with eight rebounds and four assists. Jeff Green
also tallied 11 points but managed to connect on just 4-of-17 attempts from
the floor, while Brandon Bass added 10 points.
"I think we're focusing too much on the playoffs, and that's not here yet,"
Pierce and Garnett are likely going to be held out by Boston coach Doc Rivers
due to lingering ankle issues.
Miami, which has knocked the Celtics out of the playoffs in the previous two
seasons, has won two of three from the C's in 2012-13.
04/12 14:42:57 ET
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