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Excited to compete with the Celtics

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Excited to compete with the Celtics

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the Miami Heat – Especially Bam Adebayo Center – They are preparing for a visit from Boston Celtics Tuesday night.

“When the Celtics come over, we always try to make it a dogfight,” Adebayo said.

It was a dogfight, with both teams going toe-to-toe with each other on some of the biggest stages. Miami eliminated Boston in the 2020 playoffs, when the Heat reached the NBA Finals. However, Boston got revenge last season, eliminating Miami in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to claim its 18th title.

Adebayo noted that Boston is one of the teams he respects the most – along with the Milwaukee Bucks.

“It’s one of the two teams in the conference that I feel like we see each other every year in the playoffs,” Adebayo said. “We always see each other.

“So, for us, trying to make this push and round the playoffs, we have to go through (the Celtics).”

Miami has gone 10-5 in its past 15 games, moving up to sixth place in the Eastern Conference. The Heat had a shutout Monday after rallying from a 16-point deficit to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans 100-96 on Sunday.

Boston, which has the best record in the NBA at 35-13, snapped its nine-game winning streak on Monday when the Orlando Magic pulled off a 113-98 upset.

The Celtics were up short against Orlando, though. Robert Williams III was suffering from a left knee injury, while Defensive Player of the Year titleholder Marcus Smart was suffering from a sprained right ankle. Malcolm Brogdon, who was the effective sixth man, missed Monday’s game due to personal reasons.

Williams averages 7.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks while shooting 75.4 percent from the floor. He’s served as an edge guard, dynamic threat and surprisingly good passer, but his injury is particularly concerning given he had surgery on the same knee this past March.

“Nothing serious,” Boston interim coach Joe Mazzola said when asked about Williams’ injury.

Marcus Smart averages 11.1 points and has 7.2 assists for the team, while Brogdon averages 14.3 points per game in his first season in Boston after being acquired via trade this offseason.

And those injuries added pressure on Boston’s two biggest stars, Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Tatum averages 31.0 points, while Brown is very close with an average of 26.9.

Brown acknowledged the difficulty of Boston’s current predicament, especially with a meeting with the Heat on the horizon.

“It’s hard to get a win on the road among a group of guys,” Brown said.

Miami will face Tatum and Brown with their big three – Jimmy Butler, Tyler Hero and Adebayo.

Butler leads Miami in scoring (21.6 points per game) and steals (2.1) while ranking second in rebounds (6.1) and assists (5.0). However, he averages just 15.0 points while facing consistent double teams over the past two games.

Herro averages 20.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 4.4 assists. Adebayo averages 21.4 points and 10.1 rebounds.

–Field Argument Level

Copyright 2023 STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and the Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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