MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – When the Miami Heat take to the court at the AmericanAirlines Arena Wednesday night, the team can do two things. First, they can make it to the Eastern Conference finals; and second, they can finally overcome the biggest hurdle this year, the Boston Celtics.
In the playoffs, the Heat has been carried by the Big Three. In Game 4, the Big Three of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh scored 83 of the Heat’s 98 points.
LeBron came up the biggest by draining a key 3-pointer to stem the tide of the Celtics run. The shot, which came with around 2 minutes to go in the game, could go down as one of the biggest shots of his career depending on how the rest of the playoffs turn out.
In the playoffs, LeBron and Bosh have been averaging nearly a double-double per game. LeBron is also second on the team in scoring at 24.1 points per game just behind Wade who is averaging 25 poitns per game.
But while Bosh admitted he struggled in Game 3, he has come up big in the series on the defensive end of the floor. Bosh has shut down Boston’s Kevin Garnett and if the Heat are to win tonight; the team will need another stellar defensive performance from Bosh on KG.And it’s not just Bosh’s defense that has been stellar, it’s the entire team. From Mario Chalmers being attached at the hip to Celtics guard Rajon Rondo to Joel Anthony giving his usual spark of emotion from the bench; the Heat have been playing great team defense while shutting down the Celtics.
The Heat is doing it while also struggling mightily from behind the 3-point line. In the playoffs, the Heat is shooting 32 percent from behind the arc, compared to opponents shooting 44 percent from behind the line.
But the Heat is getting to the free throw line early and often and when they need a three, they’re getting it from Wade, James, Chalmers, or James Jones.
If the Heat can knock out the Celtics Wednesday night, they will get some rest before the Eastern Conference finals. The other semifinal matchup between the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks has the Bulls leading 3-2 in the best of seven series.
The Bulls-Hawks series is returning to Atlanta for Game 6 on Thursday night and it’s entirely possible the Hawks can send it to a deciding game 7. But, the Bulls are likely to take the series and await the winner of the Heat-Celtics series.
But before the Heat can start talking about facing the Bulls or Hawks, they have to take care of business Wednesday night and end the Celtics reign in the Eastern Conference.
Tip time for Game 5 is set for just after 7:00 p.m. If you are going to the game, get there early to make sure you have plenty of time to go through security.