Basketball games during the last week of the NBA season aren’t rational. They don’t follow the form of the games we’ve come to expect throughout the year. We may see LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen, and Rajon Rondo tonight. We may not. Regardless, the Celtics already proved they could play with the Heat with two wins over Miami last month. Tonight is not the night to make statements. It’s a night to avoid injuries and get some run for players who might not normally crack the rotation.
Here are the details for tonight’s game:
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
Records: Celtics (37-27), Heat (46-18)
Broadcast info: TNT, WRKO/680 AM (Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell)
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Paul Pierce
PF: Brandon Bass
C: Kevin Garnett
PG: Mario Chalmers
SG: Norris Cole
SF: LeBron James
PF: Udonis Haslem
C: Dexter Pittman
Allen’s ankle: We’re not likely to see Ray Allen tonight or Thursday, and while that might not be an issue normally, it could effect the Celtics going into the playoffs. Avery Bradley seems entrenched in the starting rotation, and Allen’s role off the bench could use some final tweaking. It’ll be interesting to see what the Celtics do with the shooting guard rotation in the playoffs, particularly against the Hawks’ Joe Johnson.
Homecourt advantage: Speaking of the playoffs, the Celtics will be the East’s fourth seed, but they’re still battling Atlanta for home court advantage. The team that finishes with the better record will earn home court. The Hawks are one game up on the Celtics at 38-26.
Matchup unlikely: It looked for a while that the Celtics and Heat were on track to meet in the second round of the playoffs. But the Pacers secured the No. 3 seed in the conference, and the Celtics and Heat are now unlikely to meet until the conference finals, if both teams get that far. Miami can still claim the No. 1 seed if they win their final two games and the Bulls lose their last two, but that seems unlikely.