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Heat at Celtics Game 6 preview

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff  June 7, 2012 11:09 AM

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The Celtics are five wins away from an NBA title, but you won't find anyone on Causeway Street who views it that way. The Celtics need one more win to earn a berth in the Finals, and those two guys above aren't going to make it easy. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are still the best two players in the series, and they've got room for improvement. If they can both elevate their games tonight in Game 6, they can potentially carry the Heat back home for a Game 7.

And that's really the main factor, the approach the Heat come with. It's safe to assume that the Celtics will come with everything they have at home, in a building they've gone 8-1 in this postseason. They'll shoot better than they did in Miami in Game 5, and they'll probably get off to a good start in the first quarter.

The Heat have lost five straight games in Boston and 15 of 16 here overall. It'll take everything the Celtics have to make it 16 of 17.

Here are the details for tonight's game:

Tip-off: 8:30 p.m.
Series: Celtics lead, 3-2
Broadcast info: ESPN, WEEI/850 AM/93.7 FM (Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell)

Probable starters:

Celtics: PG: Rajon Rondo SG: Ray Allen SF: Paul Pierce PF: Brandon Bass C: Kevin Garnett

Heat: PG: Mario Chalmers SG: Dwyane Wade SF: LeBron James PF: Shane Battier C: Chris Bosh

Officials: Dan Crawford, Tony Brothers, Tom Washington. (James Capers alternate)

Story lines:
The clutch gene: : Saw an interesting stat today that on game-tying or go-ahead shots with less than 24 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter or overtime, the Heat are 0-10 in the last two postseasons. That's very un-clutch. The Celtics, meanwhile, seem to be able to finish any game in which they're able to hang around long enough. If it's a close game late, they've got guys who aren't afraid of the moment. It's hard to quantify every aspect of that, and it's not just about shooting. But being "clutch" is probably the biggest advantage Celtics fans think their team has heading into Game 6.

More Bosh: Chris Bosh played only 14 minutes in Game 5, and he didn't see the floor in the fourth quarter. After the game he said he could play more, and he probably should have considering his effectiveness in the first half. Expect Bosh to start tonight and probably double his minutes.

It's Rondo: You know Kevin Garnett is going to show up with 20 and 10 and his trademark intensity at home. What will make or break the Celtics will be the play of Rajon Rondo. He's prone to big first quarters at home as well, and he needs to drive his team from the jump. If we get one of those Rondo games, the Celtics will be moving on.

@GlobeGaryDzen

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