The Celtics will have to contend with the Heat's fourth-quarter dominance
The Miami Heat bring their 22-game winning streak into Boston for a showdown at 8 p.m. on Monday (ESPN) with a team that has given them a lot of trouble in the past.
Here are five statistical and historical storylines on this game hooked to the Heat’s struggles with this opponent.
1. The Celtics have been here before
Monday marks five years to the day when the Rockets’ 22-game win streak was snapped by the Celtics. On March 18, 2008, Boston defeated Houston 94-74 at the Toyota Center, handing the Rockets their first loss in 51 days.
2. The Heat can’t win in Boston
The Heat have lost 10 consecutive regular-season road games against the Celtics.
Heat's Longest Road Losing Streaks
Current vs Opponents
The Elias Sports Bureau notes that is Miami’s longest active road losing streak to one opponent.
3. The Heat’s offense struggle in Boston
The Heat’s regular-season struggles in Boston have come mainly on the offensive end.
In the “Big 3” era, the Heat average just 83.2 points per 100 possessions in the TD Garden, by far their lowest offensive efficiency on the road against any team over that span (since 2010-11 season). Their next-lowest is 97.5 points per 100 possessions against the Chicago Bulls.
The biggest thing that the Celtics have done is take away the Heat’s pick-and-roll.
This game will match the most effective pick-and-roll team against the team that is best at limiting opponents’ effectiveness in it.
In the four regular-season games that the "Big 3" have played against the Celtics, the Heat offense is shooting 38 percent and averaging 0.74 points per pick-and-roll play with LeBron as the ball handler.
On the season, the Heat shoot over 50 percent and average just over one point per play on pick-and-roll sets with James handling the ball, both ranking him among the top five pick-and-roll ball handlers in the league.
The other area in which the Heat usually are successful, but not in Boston, is with the corner three-point shot.
The Heat, who rate among the best teams at making corner three-pointers, have been stymied on those shot attempts at TD Garden.
In their last four games in Boston with the Big 3 playing, Miami is shooting 29 percent (9-for-31) on corner threes.
4. Dwyane Wade’s struggles against Celtics
Dwyane Wade is currently on one of the hottest and most efficient stretches of his career. Wade has scored at least 20 points and shot 50 percent from the field in 12 of his last 13 games.
Wade's Fewest PPG by Opponents
However, he has struggled in his career in the regular season against the Celtics. Wade’s 21.3 scoring average and 43.3 field goal percentage against the Celtics are his lowest against any opponent in his career.
The Celtics have prevented Wade from scoring in-close. Wade is shooting 40 percent inside five feet in his four games at TD Garden over the last three seasons, a far cry from the better than 70 percent rate at which he’s made those shots this season.
5. Celtics unbeatable at home post-Rajon Rondo
Since All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo went down with a season-ending ACL injury on January 25, the Celtics have won their last 11 home games, a streak that began with a 100-98 double-overtime win against the Heat on January 27.
Only the Heat and Nuggets have also gone undefeated at home over that span.