Heat will look to get Wade on track

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Heat will look to get Wade on track

BOSTON One of the things that has made the Miami Heat such a daunting challenge for most foes is the unpredictability that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade bring to the game.

Their size and speed and strength and much-improved perimeter skills make them a near-imp

For once, the Heat's game plan will be obvious.

There's no doubt in anyone's mind that Miami will lock in early and often on doing one thing - getting Wade the ball.
The Heat's inability to get Wade on track - or to the free throw line - was a major factor in Boston's 101-91 Game Three win.

Wade had 18 points on 9-for-20 shooting from the field. More significant, he didn't attempt a single free throw after coming into Game Three averaging 8.5 free throw attempts in the first two games.

Surely one of the biggest adjustments Miami will look to make is getting Wade as well as LeBron James - he had just six free throw attempts in the Game Three loss - in position to be more effective at getting to the rim.

"We have to get them in spots where they can continue to be aggressive, and they will be," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. "We'll make some adjustments to make sure they're aggressive. They were able to get to the rim a few times. That's just the way it goes."

As the Heat's primary facilitator on offense, James made it clear that his mindset coming into Game Four was to find as many ways as he could to get Wade on track to start the game.

"I know that D-Wade, once he gets a few easy buckets he's very aggressive from that point on," James said prior to Miami's practice at the TD Garden on Saturday. "I had it going early on in Game Three, but I'm going to need his dominant play as well, so I will make a conscious effort to get him going early."

While it may sound good, it may very well put the Heat in a bigger mess than they found themselves in Game Three.

One of the big reasons why Wade had such a rough night for Miami, was because the Celtics made defending him a priority.

While the C's are certainly concerned by league MVP James, they appear to have spent a lot more time focusing on how to limit Wade by sending multiple defenders at him seemingly whenever he touched the ball.

"It's no secret, I'm getting doubled at the top of the key; I'm getting doubled in the paint," Wade said. "So unless I shoot a turnaround jump shot all the time which is not a good shot for our team, we're going to have to find other ways to loosen things up."
Celtics coach Doc Rivers said the C's approach to defending Wade wasn't all that different in Game Three than it was in the previous two games.

"We advent' changed our game plan much," Rivers said. "He just missed some shots. Good for us."

This isn't the first time Wade had a not-so-memorable performance in the playoffs.

In Miami's Game Three loss at Indiana, Wade had just five points on 2-for-13 shooting and was 1-for-2 from the line. Trailing 2-1 after the Game Three loss, Wade bounced back with a 30-point, nine-rebound, six-assist night in a 101-93 Game Four win.

"He's been slowed down before and came back pretty well," said Rajon Rondo who was among the different defenders used by the Celtics in trying to limit Wade. "He's a strong player, he's a good player, he's going to be aggressive. I'm sure he's going to try and attack and get to the line (in Game Four). We'll do the same. Regardless of who they have on their side, we're going to try and do our thing and that's play team defense, shrink the floor and rebound the ball."

Wade had nothing but praise for the Celtics defense and the job they did on limiting him in Game Three. Still, he's confident that he will have more opportunities to be effective - more effective - in Game Four on Sunday from the field as well as the free throw line.

"I'm a patient person, so eventually things will hopefully loosen up and I get opportunities where I can attack and get into a rhythm a little more," Wade said. "But you give them and Doc Rivers credit for coming up with the scheme. Now we have to do our jobs and make adjustments."

Thomas won’t play Friday night vs. Raptors

Thomas won’t play Friday night vs. Raptors

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Celtics are about to hit one of the toughest stretches of the season and they’ll have to do it for at least one more game without their leading scorer, Isaiah Thomas. 
 
Thomas, who suffered a right groin injury on Monday against the Houston Rockets, did not play on Wednesday against Orlando and said that he will not play in Friday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors. 
 
“It’s day to day. I want to play. I want to be out there but it’s the smart decision to hold out and wait until it’s 100 percent,” Thomas said during a Season of Giving event for children of the Military Friends Foundation held at the Celtics’ practice facility. “If it was a playoff game I would be out there for sure.”
 
However, after consulting with a number of medical personnel, Thomas decided the best thing for him and the Celtics was to sit out Friday’s game which, along with Wednesday in Orlando, will be the first two he has missed since the 2014-2015 season. 
 
Thomas said there’s no specific timetable for his return, but he said he is planning to travel with the team to Oklahoma City for their matchup against the Thunder on Sunday. 
 
“It’s eating me a live to sit, but I have to do what’s best for my body, I have to do what’s best for this team,” Thomas said. “I need to be 100 percent healthy to give this team what I can give them.”
 
The Celtics are hoping for similar success they had Wednesday in Orlando (a 117-87 victory) on Friday against Toronto.
 
“They played a hell of a game last night,” Thomas said. “They’ll be ready tomorrow.”
 
The fact that Thomas intends to travel with the team is a good sign that the groin injury isn’t too serious. 
 
If he doesn’t play at Oklahoma City, that likely means he’ll return to action on Wednesday at San Antonio. 
 
“I’m going to do what I can to get back out there on the court,” Thomas said. “I gotta be smart about this. I don’t want this to linger on this season.”
 
Replacing Smart in the lineup against Toronto will most likely be Marcus Smart. 
 
Smart, who has been a replacement starter at small forward and point guard this season, had 13 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals against the Magic.