The Boston Celtics have a big tilt on Wednesday night with the Miami Heat. The Celtics and the Heat are currently tied for third place in the Eastern Conference with 14-5 records, respectively. These teams are very similar, as they are both undefeated on their home courts and slightly above .500 on the road. Before these two Eastern conference teams square off on Wednesday, let’s look at a few keys to the game.
Stopping Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler is a star in the NBA. He may not be a top tier type of NBA star. But trust me when I say this, the man can flat out play basketball. He went over to the Heat in a trade this off-season with the Philadelphia 76ers. Since he has arrived in Miami, he has been showing people just how well he plays the game of basketball. Butler is leading the team in points (18.8), assists (6.3), and steals (2.5). The main question here is who will guard Butler. My guess is they’ll do a combination of Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart. Assuming Marcus Smart is healthy enough to play on Wednesday night, he should be getting a majority of the matchups against Butler. Otherwise, Butler could go off for a large number in the T.D. Garden Wednesday night.
Defending the Three Ball
Let’s face it, the Celtics have not done a terrific job against the three ball. For example, Spencer Dinwiddie had six threes by himself against the Celtics when the teams met in Brooklyn. This Celtics team is going to need to figure out a better system to defend the three ball, especially against the Heat. The Heat are currently third in the NBA in three point percentage (38.9). It’s safe to say that the Heat have good shooters from the outside. It’s up to Brad Stevens to decipher on what exactly he’ll do with this unique Heat team.
Not Turning The Ball Over
This sounds about as elementary as it comes, right? “Don’t turn the ball over and you’ll win games!” Yes, I get that. But with this Miami Heat team, they have a knack for making other teams turn the ball over. They are second in the NBA in steals per game (8.9). But on the flip side, the Celtics are right behind them (8.8). So if the Celtics can play a pretty clean game and force Miami to play a sloppy game, then the Celtics will be in business.
This is going to be one of the better matchups in the NBA this season. The Heat obviously still have Erik Spoelstra still at the helm. Remember that guy? He’s won a few rings in his time there. Then, of course, you have Brad Stevens leading the Celtics. Stevens has the ability to get the team to buy into the “team” concept. Why do you all think Kyrie Irving didn’t essentially work out here? He didn’t buy into that “team” concept. Anyways, this game will be fun. It’ll be loud and probably come down to the wire. This would be a great win for the Celtics with Gordon Hayward still a few weeks away from returning, and the Nuggets coming to town on Friday.