Wednesday, March 11, 2009
7:30 pm ET
American Airlines Arena (Miami, FL)
The injury bug has continued its downright refusal to leave the city of Boston, as the Celtics will be without a third of their roster tonight in Miami. Tony Allen (thumb), Glen Davis (ankle), Kevin Garnett (knee), Rajon Rondo (ankle), and Brian Scalabrine (head/neck) will all be out of action at American Airlines Arena this evening, leaving Doc Rivers with a rather thin bench and a large window to experiment.
Despite his Sunday afternoon struggles, newest Celtic Stephon Marbury will get the nod as the team's designated point guard for the second straight game. In this past weekend's home loss to Orlando, Marbury was thrown into the fire as the team's starting one-man, and finished with four points, one assist, and three turnovers in about 20 minutes of floor time. Due to Marbury's newness, the offense struggled mightily in the first half, where the C's put up just 33 points.
Regardless, Rivers has decided to throw "Starbury" into the fire once again, as it will help him learn the system in game situations and speed up the learning process in order to get him ready for postseason play. With Garnett, Davis, and Scalabrine all unavailable at the four spot, it is expected that Leon Powe will get the call over Mikki Moore.
How Marbury runs the offense may come second on Boston's list of things to worry about tonight, however. What tops the list, you ask? Look no further than 2006 NBA Finals MVP Dwyane Wade, who has been playing out-of-this-world basketball as of late. Since the All-Star break (11 games), "Flash" has held jaw-dropping averages of 36.5 points, 10.8 assists, 5.7 rebounds, 2.7 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game on ultra-efficient shooting clips of 57.2% from the floor, 44.7% from beyond the arc, and 87% at the free throw line. Through March's first five games, those numbers are even better at 38.2 PPG, 11.4 APG, 6.6 RPG, 3.4 SPG, 1.2 BPG, and shooting percentages of 59.3% overall, 58.3% from deep, and 77.1% from the charity stripe.
Want some more mind-blowing stat lines? Wade is coming off one of the most impressive performances of the 2008-09 NBA season, as he tallied 48 points, 12 assists, six rebounds, four steals, and three blocks on 15-21 shooting in Monday night's win over Chicago. Oh, and did I mention that he sealed the game with a miraculous buzzer-beating runner from straight-away three-point territory? In double-overtime.
Wade is one of the few guys in this league that can single-handedly take over a basketball game. If it weren't for LeBron James, the beast in South Beach would have this year's MVP trophy locked up like Charles Barkley.
Simply put, the Celtics have their hands full in this one.
G G F F C
PPG: Paul Pierce (20.4)
RPG: Kevin Garnett (8.8)
APG: Rajon Rondo (8.4)
SPG: Rajon Rondo (1.9)
BPG: Kendrick Perkins (1.7)
G G F F C
PPG: Dwyane Wade (29.7)
RPG: Udonis Haslem (8.4)
APG: Dwyane Wade (7.7)
SPG: Dwyane Wade (2.2)
BPG: Jermaine O'Neal (1.8)
Kevin Garnett (posterior muscle strain – out)
Rajon Rondo (sprained right ankle – out)
Glen Davis (sprained right ankle – out)
Tony Allen (recovering from thumb surgery – out)
Brian Scalabrine (concussions/strained neck – out)
Keys to Victory
- Avoid Foul Trouble
- Own the Glass
- Bench Play – Somebody Step Up
- Ball Control
- Contain Wade