Monday, 11 April 2011

NBA roundup: Celtics, Heat vie for No. 2

Posted by chardyboy on Monday, April 11, 2011 0 comments


MIAMI -- Somehow, after 79 games, nothing between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat has been decided.

Boston, 55-24.

Miami, 55-24.

Tied for the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference, one team will take a stranglehold on the race for home-court advantage through at least the first two playoff rounds today when the Celtics and Heat meet in Miami. Boston is 3-0 in the season-series between the clubs and has won 18 of its last 20 games against the Heat since April 2007.

But if Miami finds a way today, that Celtic dominance may be temporarily forgotten.

"Let's toss the ball up and play," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Saturday. "We think we're a different team than the last three times we've played them, but until we prove it in between the lines, it doesn't matter."

The Heat are understandably thrilled that Game 4 of the regular-season series is in Miami. That won't be the case if Game 4 of a potential Heat-Celtics postseason series is also in Miami.

The No. 1 seed in the East has been locked up by the Chicago Bulls, and in some order, seeds 2 and 3 will go to Miami and Boston. So that means the Heat and Celtics will be slotted to meet in the East semifinals -- where Games 1, 2, 5 and 7 would be hosted by the higher seed.

"This is a big game for us," Boston forward Paul Pierce said in a story published on the team's website, "That's what we are playing for, for the home court advantage. Not only for the first round, but hopefully we will see them in the second round. 

This is a big game for us when you are talking about seeds and trying to advance in the playoffs. It's huge."

Denver 130, Minnesota 106: Ty Lawson made his first 10 three-pointers and scored a career-high 37 points in leading the host Nuggets.

Houston 99, L.A. Clippers 78: Chase Budinger, Kevin Martin and Brad Miller scored 16 points apiece and Chuck Hayes had 12 points and 13 rebounds for the host Rockets.

Milwaukee 106, Cleveland 100: Drew Gooden had his first career triple-double and John Salmons scored 32 points for the host Bucks. Gooden had 15 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists for the Bucks, hitting double-digits in all three stat categories in the middle of the third quarter.

San Antonio 111, Utah 102: Richard Jefferson scored 20 points as the host Spurs began resting up with the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference secured. The Spurs (61-19) have two games left and are 11/2 games ahead of Chicago for the NBA's best record. Protecting that lead will likely fall to the bench as San Antonio focuses on keeping fresh for the playoffs.

Washington 115, Atlanta 83: Andray Blatche scored 23 points, John Wall had 19, and the host Wizards dealt the playoff-bound Hawks their fourth straight loss. Al Horford led the Hawks with 21 points and 10 rebounds.


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