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NBA Preview from The Sports Network

Friday, April 6th (All times eastern)

Miami Heat (41-34) at Boston Celtics (23-51), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Miami Heat shoot for their third straight win this evening when they square off with the Boston Celtics at TD Banknorth Garden.

The Southeast Division-leading Heat are 1 1/2 games ahead of the Washington Wizards in the division and posted a 94-90 overtime victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday in the opener of a short two-game road trip at Quicken Loans Arena.

Jason Kapono's three-pointer late in overtime gave Miami the lead for good and clinched a playoff spot for the defending NBA champions. Antoine Walker scored 20 points for the Heat, who remain the four seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Shaquille O'Neal had 20 points and eight rebounds in the win.

Miami has won four of six games overall and is 16-22 away from South Beach this season.

Meanwhile, the Celtics have lost two of their last three games, including Wednesday's 98-89 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center.

Boston was shorthanded against the Bucks, as leading scorer Paul Pierce remained sidelined with inflammation in his left elbow and a sore left foot. Al Jefferson also missed the contest for the Celtics. Jefferson collided with teammate Ryan Gomes at practice on Tuesday, aggravating a left knee injury he originally suffered two weeks ago.

Rajon Rondo led the way with 16 points and Kevinn Pinkney added 15 points for the Celtics in his first game since being signed to a 10-day contract by the squad. Pinkney played in the NBA Development League this season.

The Celtics are now back at home where they own a 12-25 mark this season. In injury news for Boston, guard Delonte West (ankle) is probable versus the Heat, while Jefferson (knee) is doubtful and Pierce (elbow) will miss Friday's game.

Friday's game between Miami and Boston is the second of three meetings this season. Both teams will meet again on April 16 at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The Heat, who posted a 91-79 triumph over the Celtics on February 7, have won four of five and eight of the last 10 matchups. They have also won two of three and three of the last five trips to Beantown.

04/06 11:34:14 ET

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