Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Dallas at Los Angeles

Mavericks-Lakers10:30 PM ET, May 4, 2011
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

      Points     Rebounds     Assists
DAL    Nowitzki 27.4    Chandler 9.4    Kidd 7.1
LAL    Bryant 24.4    Bynum 9.6    Gasol 4.1

Gameday Matchup
Los Angeles
W-L    57-25    57-25
Avg Points    100.2    101.5
Avg Points Allowed    96.0    95.4
Home Record    29-12    30-11
Road Record    28-13    27-14
Current Streak    W4    W2
Last 10    5-2    4-3
Team Stats: Dallas | Los Angeles
Injury Report

    * Caron Butler SF - Apr 29: OUT
Los Angeles

    * Kobe Bryant SG - Apr 30: Day-to-Day

Fantasy Injury News | View NBA injury report
Depth Chart
Dallas (PPG)   
Los Angeles (PPG)
PG            J. Kidd 11.0    D. Fisher 9.1
SG            D. Stevenson 2.4    K. Bryant 24.4
SF            S. Marion 10.4    R. Artest 10.4
PF            D. Nowitzki 27.4    P. Gasol 13.7
C            T. Chandler 7.1    A. Bynum 14.1
View full depth chart: Dallas | Los Angeles
Team Stat Leaders
Los Angeles
Points    D. Nowitzki 27.4    K. Bryant 24.4
Rebounds    T. Chandler 9.4    A. Bynum 9.6
Assists    J. Kidd 7.1    P. Gasol 4.1
Steals    J. Kidd 1.6    K. Bryant 1.4
Blocks    B. Haywood 1.1    P. Gasol 2.1

Atlanta at Chicago


8:00 PM ET, May 4, 2011
United Center, Chicago, IL
      Points     Rebounds     Assists
ATL    Crawford 20.7    Horford 10.6    Horford 3.7
CHI    Rose 27.0    Noah 10.3    Rose 6.8

Gameday Matchup
W-L    44-38    62-20
Avg Points    95.0    98.6
Avg Points Allowed    95.8    91.3
Home Record    24-17    36-5
Road Record    20-21    26-15
Current Streak    L6    W9
Last 10    5-2    4-2
Team Stats: Atlanta | Chicago
Injury Report

    * Kirk Hinrich G - May 2: OUT


    * Carlos Boozer PF - May 1: Day-to-Day

Fantasy Injury News | View NBA injury report
Depth Chart
Atlanta (PPG)   
Chicago (PPG)
PG            J. Teague 5.0    D. Rose 27.0
SG            J. Johnson 20.3    K. Bogans 5.0
SF            M. Williams 5.9    L. Deng 19.0
PF            J. Smith 13.4    C. Boozer 10.7
C            A. Horford 11.6    J. Noah 11.8
View full depth chart: Atlanta | Chicago
Team Stat Leaders
Points    J. Crawford 20.7    D. Rose 27.0
Rebounds    A. Horford 10.6    J. Noah 10.3
Assists    A. Horford 3.7    D. Rose 6.8
Steals    K. Hinrich 1.2    D. Rose 2.5
Blocks    J. Smith 1.4    J. Noah 2.3
Atlanta leads 1-0 (Game 2 of 7)


Atlanta leads 1-0
Game 1: Monday, May 2nd
Hawks    103    Final
Bulls    95
Recap »Boxscore »
Game 2: Wednesday, May 4th
Hawks        8:00
Preview »
Game 3: Friday, May 6th
Bulls        7:00
Preview »
Game 4: Sunday, May 8th
Bulls        8:00
Preview »
Game 5: Tuesday, May 10th
Hawks        TBA
Preview »
Game 6: Thursday, May 12th
Bulls        TBA
Preview »
Game 7: Sunday, May 15th
Hawks        TBA
Preview »

(44-38, 20-21 away)

(62-20, 36-5 home)

Memphis at Oklahoma City

9:30 PM ET, May 3, 2011
Oklahoma City Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

Points      Rebounds      Assists
MEM    Randolph 23.3    Gasol 12.4    Conley 6.3
OKC    Durant 32.5    Ibaka 11.0    Westbrook 6.2

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The arrival of Kendrick Perkins was expected to give the Oklahoma City Thunder the kind of inside muscle they needed to stand their ground with some of the NBA's beefiest big men.

In the opener of their Western Conference semifinal series with Memphis, it was the Grizzlies who did the bruising.

Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol combined for 54 points and 23 rebounds in leading eighth-seeded Memphis to a road victory in Game 1 for the second straight series. The Grizzlies got 52 points in the paint, more than any team but the Los Angeles Lakers have scored against Oklahoma City with Perkins in the lineup.

"They played physical, they bullied us in the first game," guard James Harden said after practice Monday. "So, the second game, we just have to prepare and go out there and not make excuses and win a game."

Game 2 is Tuesday night in Oklahoma City.

The Grizzlies, who led the NBA with 51.5 points per game in the paint, averaged a whopping 59 against Oklahoma City while winning the regular-season series 3-1. The Thunder's only win came when Memphis scored 60 points inside but went 10-for-38 outside the paint, including 1 for 15 on 3-pointers.

"We just have to pack the paint," Harden said. "Pack the paint, clog it up, make them shoot outside jump shots. They lead the league in paint points, so we have to cover that up."

Randolph has set the Grizzlies' playoff scoring record in back-to-back games, with 31 points in Game 6 against top-seeded San Antonio and then 34 -- along with 10 rebounds -- in Game 1 at Oklahoma City.

He's had three games with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds against the Thunder.

"I think Zach showed you how much he can do if they don't double-team him," teammate Darrell Arthur said. "And if they do double-team, he's such a great passer out of the post that it doesn't really matter."

Randolph has become one of the stars of the playoffs, a player with no history of postseason success during his 10-year career leading a franchise that had never won a playoff series until knocking off top-seeded San Antonio a few days ago.

He was better known for some run-ins with the law. But after bouncing from Portland to New York to the Los Angeles Clippers, he has found a fit in Memphis.
"I think Zach is the epitome of life," Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said. "When we're young people, we make mistakes. We do things that we shouldn't do, and we grow and become better men. Whether it's in this game or in life, that's what this world is all about."

Randolph has looked unstoppable, even against a front line that added Perkins -- one of the NBA's top low-post defenders -- at the trade deadline in February. The move allowed Serge Ibaka, the league's top shot blocker, to move from center to his natural power forward position.

Coach Scott Brooks thought the Thunder did a decent job of getting Randolph and Gasol out of the areas where they're strongest, but it still wasn't good enough.

"Zach made eight shots from the perimeter. There's nothing you can do about that, other than pushing him outside a few extra feet and crowding his space. Gasol made four jump shots, and that's not his strength of his game," Brooks said. "But they made them and give them credit. They stepped up and they made those shots."

Gasol went 4 for 4 on jumpers from at least 14 feet and Randolph hit eight jumpers from at least 10 feet out, including a 3-pointer.

"We can shoot the ball, pick and roll. It ain't just coming down and throwin' it in the post," Randolph said. "We can do different stuff a lot of the other big guys can't do."

Perkins said "that wasn't Thunder basketball (Sunday), and it's going to be a different game tomorrow."

"It wasn't nothing like they had a lot of shots in the paint. He hit a lot of outside shots (Sunday) -- contested, tough shots at that -- so you're not overreacting to nothing," Perkins said. "I feel like we just didn't play our game.

"I don't get too much concerned about what the other team's doing. I'm always concerned about what we do."

The Grizzlies -- who led the NBA in steals and turnovers forced -- also scored 23 points off of 18 Oklahoma City turnovers and 22 second-chance points off of 17 offensive rebounds.

"That has to change," Brooks said. "We have to get better in those areas because that's their strength, and they had their way with their strength. We don't want that to happen."

Brooks said he was hesitant to double-team Randolph too much because he's become a quality passer when the Grizzlies send players cutting to the basket.

"There's only so many things you can do on a basketball court," Randolph said. "They could double-team me and push me baseline. There's only two things. I've seen almost anything, so I'll be ready for whatever they throw at me."

Boston at Miami


7:00 PM ET, May 3, 2011
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL

Points      Rebounds      Assists
BOS    Allen 22.6    Garnett 10.6    Rondo 11.0
MIA    Wade 24.8    James 9.8    James 6.0

MIAMI (AP) -- Paul Pierce  is from Los Angeles, so he knows a thing or do about Hollywood.

And he knows he'll have to act better if the Boston Celtics are going to avoid getting into a quick two-game hole in their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Miami Heat.

A day after getting ejected from Boston's Game 1 loss, Pierce acknowledged that his actions were "selfish" and that he needed to do a better job keeping his composure. Nonetheless, he still believes that he was more victim than aggressor during the two plays in which he got technical fouls that sent him to the locker room with 7 minutes left in Miami's 99-90 win.

Game 2 is Tuesday, and Pierce isn't sure if the physicality both teams offered Sunday would carry over.

"This is not a movie or a script," Pierce said. "It's hard to really say what's going to happen game in, game out."

The Heat don't necessarily agree with that.

They think they know exactly what's coming on Tuesday -- a much better effort from the Celtics. Boston missed 20 of its first 26 shots in Game 1, never got Kevin Garnett rolling offensively and had Rajon Rondo limited by foul trouble. Even after all that misfortune, the Celtics had their chances to recover from what was once a 19-point hole in Game 1.

"We're physical teams, we're defensive-minded teams, play a similar style of basketball and it's the playoffs," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "That's all it is. We're not overblowing the physicality part of it. We're not trying to be somebody we're not. They're not trying to be anyone they're not. ... We know what our tenets are."

Pierce spoke to reporters Monday for the first time since the ejection. He was not available Sunday night, after he clashed with James Jones with 7:59 remaining following a hard foul, then exchanged words with Dwyane Wade 59 seconds later after the Heat guard ran into his screen. Double-technicals were called after both plays, and Pierce's ejection was automatic on the second.

"I thought I was fouled excessively on both plays," Pierce said.

So did Boston coach Doc Rivers, who is not wavering from the stance he offered in the minutes following Game 1, when he said the Heat were more "chippy" than "physical."

But on Monday, while not backing off that assertion, Rivers said the Celtics had bigger issues than whistles that didn't go their way.

"We didn't handle it very well," Rivers said. "Overall, I thought they hit first the entire game. I'm talking legally -- I'm talking their picks, their cuts, their actions. I just thought they played the game with a better force than we played the game, and that's something that shouldn't happen. Both teams should play with the same force."

What Wade and Jones did that hurt Boston most had nothing to do with the two plays that ended Pierce's night. They combined for 63 points on 19-for-28 shooting from the field and an 18-for-19 combined performance from the foul line. Those numbers made LeBron James' 22-point, six-rebound, five-assist statline seem quiet by comparison.

"I would approach this game just like I would approach this game whether I had 12 points (in Game 1) or 38," Wade said. "For me, every game is different with this team. Certain nights, my job is going to be different. They put a lot of attention toward LeBron so I got an opportunity to not have all eyes on me so I got into a rhythm. It might be different next game."

So might the lineups.

Rivers said Monday's practice might move Shaquille O'Neal closer to a return after missing nearly all of the last three months with leg problems. A decision on his Game 2 status likely won't be finalized until Tuesday morning's pregame shootaround. And Miami forward Udonis Haslem worked out again Monday, a day after he nearly made the active roster for the first time since rupturing a foot ligament on Nov. 20.

Both sides would see their depth bolstered if those big men returned, but the Celtics know an O'Neal comeback alone won't be enough of a change if they plan on returning to Boston with a 1-1 split in Miami.

"Miami has two of the best athletes in the game in LeBron James and Dwyane Wade," Celtics center Jermaine O'Neal said. "When they get into the open court, they tend to be very, very tough."

James knows a 1-0 lead against Boston is not enough. When he was with Cleveland a year ago, the Cavaliers had both 1-0 and 2-1 series leads over the Celtics in the East semis.

Undeterred, Boston won in six games -- a decision that still stings James.

"We're naturally confident," James said. "But you never get too high or too low in a playoff series. It's one game. Series is not won in one game."


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Dallas at Los Angeles


10:30 PM ET, May 2, 2011

STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
     Points      Rebounds      Assists
DAL    Nowitzki 27.3    Chandler 9.5    Kidd 6.5
LAL    Bryant 22.5    Bynum 10.3    Bryant 3.8

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) -- Although they had quite a combustible meeting last month, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks  claim the clubs' first playoff meeting in 23 years is too important for any thuggish, boorish behavior.

Matt Barnes has already been there, done that, and got the T-shirt.

The Lakers forward's sportswear company is selling shirts generated out of the clubs' ejection-plagued meeting on March 31, but he realizes neither team can waste time shoving anybody around in the postseason.

"We're not worried about anything that happened in the past," said Barnes, who was tossed from that game after a physical confrontation with Jason Terry, who clobbered Steve Blake with a hard foul. "I'm not carrying anything over. I'm not trying to get into trouble or technical fouls or hurt my team in any way. We're going out there to try to win, play hard. That's the only chance any team has to beat us, to play harder."

Game 1 is Monday night at Staples Center.

Dallas is the second-seeded Lakers' highest-seeded remaining road block to their fourth straight NBA finals, and the Mavericks have a combination of inside toughness and depth that could play well against Los Angeles' weaknesses. The Lakers rarely hesitate to get physical when necessary, and the New Orleans Hornets reacted poorly to that postseason toughness in the first round -- a mistake the Mavs insist they won't make.

"You've just got to know what you're there for," Dallas big man Brendan Haywood said. "You can't get suckered into any fake tough-guy stuff, or pushing and shoving. You've got to go out there and do your job, stand your ground."

The clubs' leaders have kept the peace so far -- even if it might be paining them. Phil Jackson and Mark Cuban are two of the best needlers in basketball, but the Lakers' 11-time champion coach and the Mavericks' billionaire owner kept their barbs to themselves over the weekend.

Jackson was full of praise for the Mavericks' consistent excellence and Cuban's role in it, even after a season in which Cuban referred to Jackson as Lakers executive Jeanie Buss' "boy toy" after Jackson made a crack about officiating.
Even something that sounded like an insult was intended as a compliment.

"They're the best team money can buy, really," Jackson said after a summation of Dallas' strengths.

Then, after a beat: "So are we."

Jackson kept his focus on more important matters, such as the continued progress of Kobe Bryant's sprained left ankle. Although Bryant insisted his latest injury is no problem, Jackson worries about the effect of inactivity on his leading scorer's sore joints.

The Mavericks are worried about Bryant for different reasons -- including their lack of a defender who's likely to be able to guard Bryant by himself. After watching Bryant's performance on that sprain in the final two wins over the Hornets, Dallas isn't buying any suggestion Kobe isn't 100 percent.

"(Shawn Marion) will be on him at times," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "Shawn is experienced. He's played him a lot. (DeShawn) Stevenson has played him a lot. (Jason) Kidd has played him. We'll have other guys ready. We'll have the kitchen sink ready. He's a great player and all that, but we're focused on our own game."

Dallas and Los Angeles both finished the regular season with 57 wins apiece. The Lakers won two of three meetings for the tiebreaker, and they kept that home-court advantage by the slimmest of margins, needing an overtime victory in their season finale at Sacramento.

That game turned on a desperation 3-pointer by Bryant, but the two-time NBA finals MVP had already forgotten about it Saturday.

"I don't care about home court, I really don't," Bryant said. "It makes a lot of people nervous, but I don't care."

While the Mavericks have disappointed their fans during most every postseason in the otherwise wildly successful Cuban era, the Lakers' title banners delineate the difference between the franchises. Bryant has declared that Los Angeles' back-to-back championships guarantee nothing this spring, while the Mavericks realize a win over the Lakers would be a tremendous breakthrough and a springboard to the success they've never achieved.

Lakers center Andrew Bynum thinks these Mavs are good enough to do it, and he gives much of the credit to Haywood and Tyson Chandler, the 7-footers brought in to fix many of Dallas' historic playoff flaws.

"It just makes their team a little more defensive-oriented," Bynum said. "You can't win in the playoffs without defense, and picking up 7-footers is one way to address that."

Two years ago, Bynum worked out in the summer with Chandler, the Compton product and NBA journeyman who has blossomed in Dallas. Unlike most Los Angeles kids, Chandler says he didn't dream of taking the court in that famed gold uniform.

He dreamed of doing exactly what he'll try to do Monday night.

"When you're in the backyard and you're putting up shots and you're doing the countdown, some players would imagine themselves being other players," Chandler recalled. "I would imagine I was killing the Lakers, so hopefully my dreams come true. I guess that I didn't think I could be one, so the next-best thing was beating them."

Atlanta at Chicago


8:00 PM ET, May 2, 2011

United Center, Chicago, IL

Points      Rebounds      Assists
ATL    Crawford 20.5    Horford 10.2    Horford 3.7
CHI    Rose 27.6    Noah 10.6    Rose 6.2

DEERFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Pushed hard in the opening round, Derrick Rose  wasn't letting out any sighs of relief once the Chicago Bulls  found out they'd be facing Atlanta in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

It's all well and good that he won't have to worry about getting flattened in the lane by Dwight Howard after the Hawks knocked off Orlando in six games, but he's not expecting an easy ride, either, in a series that starts Monday at the United Center.

The Bulls got all they could handle from Indiana while taking out the Pacers in five games, and Rose expects more of the same from the Hawks -- except, maybe, the hard fouls.

He sees a team led by Joe Johnson that's athletic, balanced and figures to pose a threat even though guard Kirk Hinrich will likely miss the series.

"I think it's going to be tougher, with all the guys that they have in," said Rose, who had an excused absence from practice Sunday for personal reasons. "They've got guys that can really jump and contest my shots -- really big guys. (Zaza) Pachulia and (Al) Horford are tough players. If anything, I'm (expecting) the worst because it's going to be a tough series."

A healthy Carlos Boozer would help, but what they'll get from him remains to be seen. He was struggling against the Pacers even before turf toe surfaced on his right foot in Game 5.

He participated on a limited basis in Sunday's practice after sitting out the previous two days. The Bulls were off Wednesday and Thursday.

"Basically, he just did a little more shooting," said Tom Thibodeau, who was announced as the NBA's Coach of the Year on Sunday. "He's moving a lot better. He did his lifting and he was on the bike. He's feeling a lot better. We'll see what he can do (Monday). Each day he's gotten better and better, so we're encouraged by that. We'll see if he can get through the shootaround (Monday), then we'll let him warm up (Monday) night and see if he's ready to go."

Many figured the Bulls would have an easy time in the opening round after breezing to a league-leading 62-20 record and securing home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, but the Pacers had other ideas.

They hit hard, making Chicago players pay anytime they got near the basket, and Indiana threw the offense out of sync with its taller guards and steady diet of double-teams on Rose.

The Hawks aren't as physical. They don't have Paul George or Dahntay Jones to disrupt Rose, unlike the Pacers. More important, they won't have Kirk Hinrich, either.

The former Bulls point guard will likely miss the entire series after severely straining his hamstring in the closing minutes of the Hawks' series-clinching win over Orlando.

"He does look like he's walking better than he did the other night," coach Larry Drew said.

Even so, he's not counting on a return by Hinrich in this round.

"Kirk's a tough guy," Drew said. "I never say never. But right now, it doesn't look like it."

Hinrich's injury left Atlanta looking for a point guard to run the offense and give Rose all he could handle on the other end.

Jeff Teague figures to get the shot. A former first-round pick from Wake Forest, he will likely play a key role after failing to find any real consistency during the season and winding up with long stints on the sideline to go with the occasional start.

With the Hawks using a bigger lineup to counter Howard in the opening round, Teague barely got off the bench and played a total of nine minutes over two games, but he has shown promise at times.

"The decision I kind of have to ponder is whether to disrupt what we do off the bench versus just going back to starting him (Teague)," Drew said. "These last few days, we've looked at both situations, the things we have done, we've used him in the starting lineup and out of the starting lineup. We'll talk more about it as a staff and then tomorrow, we'll have a decision what we're going to do."

Jamal Crawford and Pachulia will also factor into the decision as well. Either way, containing Rose won't be easy. And it won't be a one-man task.

"The challenge is there, especially for a guy like Jeff, who hasn't played a lot, who doesn't really have a lot of experience in the postseason," Johnson said. "His opportunity has arrived, and we look forward to him stepping up and playing big minutes and doing positive things on the court.

"But I'm sure in the second half and down the stretch, I'll be guarding Derrick Rose."

Rose had his difficulties against Indiana, committing 19 turnovers in the series, but the Hawks simply don't take the ball away.

They forced 12.5 turnovers per game and ranked 29th in the league, and Orlando averaged 12.8 in their series. Howard committed 33 of those, with Jameer Nelson giving it away just eight times.

They'll have to do a better job on Rose, who averaged 25.3 points and had a total of 10 turnovers over three games against the Hawks.

He finished with just 12 points on 5-of-21 shooting and six turnovers in a loss at Atlanta on March 2 but looked more like an MVP in their next two meetings. He hit 14 of 15 free throws while scoring 34 nine days later in a win at home against the Hawks and hit 6 of 8 3-pointers while pouring in 30 as the Bulls won big at Atlanta on March 22.

But now?

"They're playing with confidence," Rose said. "They let a team sweep them the previous year, and to come out and beat that team ... it means a lot. They're playing with a lot of confidence. They believe in each other, and they believe they can win."

Boston at Miami


3:30 PM ET, May 1, 2011
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL

MIAMI (AP) -- LeBron James planned to spend a large part of Saturday studying film, looking for any edge that the Miami Heat may use against the Boston Celtics.

Film from this season, that is.

No need to watch the Celtics inflicting past playoff wounds on him. Those remain fresh -- and time has not yet healed them.

The inability to beat Boston is one of the biggest reasons why James is now wearing a Miami Heat uniform. He'll get a third attempt to top the Celtics in a postseason series starting Sunday when the teams collide in Game 1 of what may easily become an epic Eastern Conference semifinal.

"It is personal," James said Saturday as the Heat finished practice. "It is. Absolutely right. You don't want to keeping getting beat by the same team, the same team keep sending you home to plan a vacation. So it is personal."

The Celtics expected him to say nothing less.

"It would be personal for me," Boston forward Paul Pierce said. "I'm sure he's going to take it personal and you've got to expect his best."

Unwittingly or not, the Celtics played a huge role in setting up an offseason unlike any other in NBA history. Boston gave James a big push toward Miami for a strength-in-numbers approach with the Heat that wasn't possible during the two-time MVP's stint with the Cavaliers.

Collectively, James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh figure to rate a better chance, and that theory is about to get put to the real test. They left a combined $51 million on the bargaining table last summer, and victory in this best-of-seven series may make that money seem exceptionally well-spent.

"I think you've got two really good teams, two teams with a lot of will, two teams with a lot of pride," Celtics general manager Danny Ainge said. "And I think it's going to be a great series."

The Celtics have 17 NBA championship banners, and there's at least that many story lines for this matchup.

Boston's Shaquille O'Neal wants to come back from injury for this series, as does Udonis Haslem for Miami. The Heat know they need to find ways of getting Wade going against the Celtics, which didn't happen in the regular season. Boston wants to exploit what it figures to be a significant edge at point guard with Rajon Rondo over the duo of Mike Bibby and Mario Chalmers.

And there's that small matter of the teams just plain not liking one another.

"Playoffs is a new season," Boston forward Kevin Garnett said. "New situations, new scenarios. So everything we've done up to this point is just history."

In Miami's case, the history is not good.

Not only did Boston oust both Wade (in the first round) and James (in the second round) from last year's playoffs, but the Celtics have won 18 of their last 21 meetings overall against Miami -- even after the Heat rolled to a 100-77 win at home on April 10, the lone time they knocked off the defending East kings in four matchups this season.

The dominance has extended into the playoffs, too.

Of the 15 players on Miami's roster, nine have been ousted from past postseasons by the Celtics, with James and Zydrunas Ilgauskas enduring that fate in both 2008 and 2010 with the Cavaliers. Only one player -- James Jones, a reserve with Indiana in 2005 -- knows how it feels to beat the NBA's all-time championship leaders in a playoff series.

"I look forward to the challenge," Wade said. "I know I haven't played well against this team. That's no secret."

In Boston's eyes, Miami's hopes may not be pinned on Wade or James. The Celtics say the key may be Bosh.

Sometimes the forgotten man in the series of megadeals that reshaped the Heat last summer, Bosh had three double-doubles in five games against Philadelphia in the opening round. When he gets to at least 10 points and 10 rebounds, the Heat win at a 77 percent clip (24-7).

"LeBron and Wade are LeBron and Wade," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "They're going to be great. They were great before the series, they'll be great during it and they'll be great after and this summer when you're talking about it, you'll say 'LeBron and Wade are great players.' That's not going to change. But when Bosh plays great, then their team is great. And so, he's a key guy for them."

Boston hasn't played for a week since sweeping the New York Knicks out of the first round, and the Heat had slow starts in all five games of their series against Philadelphia.

"We've prepared a long time for this," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "It's time to toss the ball up in the air."