Five things to know about Miami Heat

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Five things to know about Miami Heat

Once again, the Boston Celtics will face the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics eliminated the Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers to get to this point, while the Heat knocked out the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers.

Here are five things to know about the Heat heading into the series:

1. Winning Big: The Heat have beat their opponents by an average of 9.91 points, second best in the NBA this postseason. They are averaging 95.5 points per game and holding their competition to 85.6.

2. Board Battle: One area the Heat have not had the edge on their opponents is on the boards. This postseason they have been out-rebounded, 41.1 to 39.6.

3. Dangerous Duo: LeBron James ranks second in scoring this postseason with 29.0 points per game. Wade holds the seventh spot with 23.8 points. Wade posted 41 points in their Game 6 win, and James scored 40 in Game 5.

4. Beware of pickpocketing: James and Wade are both riding steal streaks. Wade has grabbed at least one steal in 15 straight games while James has done so in 11.

5. The Century Mark: The Heat are 6-0 when scoring 100 points in the playoffs this season. The Celtics reached that mark half as many times.

Report: Rajon Rondo preparing to attempt to play in Game 5

Report: Rajon Rondo preparing to attempt to play in Game 5

Chicago Bulls guard Rajon Rondo is putting in the work in an attempt to play in Game 5 Wednesday, according to The Vertical's Shams Charania.

Rondo, who fractured his right thumb and wore a forearm cast during Game 4, was spotted at practice Tuesday dribbling and shooting in a much smaller thumb splint. There's a chance he'll play against his former team in the Boston Celtics. Here's what The Vertical wrote on Rondo.

Around Rondo and the Bulls, there’s belief that the four-time All-Star has a chance to return but a final determination has not been made, league sources said.

The guard originally received a two-week timetable from doctors on April 21. However, he has a history of making improbable returns from injuries. In 2011, he played through a dislocated elbow. In 2013, he played a few minutes after tearing his ACL.

The 31-year-old point guard averaged 7.8 points, 6.7 assists and 5.1 rebounds in 69 games this season. In two games this postseason, he has averaged 11.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 10 assists and has shot 42.3 percent from the field.

And the Bulls, who are tied with the Celtics 2-2 in the series after jumping out to a 2-0 lead, are desperate for his return. They've cycled players like Michael Carter-William, Jerian Grant and Isaiah Canaan in and out of Rondo's role in the Bulls starting lineup.

Isaiah Thomas on Fred Hoiberg's complaints: 'I don’t carry the ball'

Isaiah Thomas on Fred Hoiberg's complaints: 'I don’t carry the ball'

WALTHAM, Mass. – Following Boston’s Game 4 win at Chicago on Sunday, Isaiah Thomas was asked about Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg’s comments that he carried the ball.

The question drew instant laughter from Thomas’ two sons who sat next to him on the podium. 

“It’s not that funny,” Thomas told them which drew a chuckle or two from the assembled media members on hand. 

Thomas is right, especially if Hoiberg’s complaints result in officials looking closer at Thomas’ ball-handling and do in fact take Hoiberg’s comments to heart as Boston and Chicago gear up for a pivotal Game 5 matchup. 

“I only know one way how to dribble,” Thomas said following Boston’s practice on Thursday. “I’ve been dribbling the same way my whole life. Maybe it was strategic or something. I don’t think they’ll call it on me.”

Thomas said he was watching NBA TV recently where he saw that he had been called for carrying two times this season. 

And just to get a sense of how often the ball is in Thomas’ hands, he made 4,234 passes while averaging 55.7 passes per game during the regular season which ranked 15th and 24th, respectively, in the NBA.  

When Thomas heard about Hoiberg’s complaint, he admits it was an unexpected rationale behind how Thomas torched his roster in Games 3 and 4. 

“I was very surprised,” Thomas said. “Out of everything else that I do on the court, you want to bring that up. It is what it is. I’m going to continue to dribble the ball the way I know how.”

Hoiberg may not realize it, but forcing the refs to pay more attention to Thomas’ ball-handling will also result in increased attention paid to Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo (right thumb) who is listed as out for Game 5 but may return to the lineup for Game 6. 

“Dwyane Wade, Rondo, LeBron (James) … I dribble just like everybody else,” Thomas said. 

Thomas added, “I don’t know what he (Hoiberg) was trying to get at. on. And if I do, every other point guard or every other guard that dribbles the ball, carries as well.” 

This time of year, with the way the series has played out of late, Thomas understands that Hoiberg’s comments may be nothing more than playoff politics with Hoiberg shifting the conversation away from what he has failed to do – limit Thomas – and put the focus on something else.

“It may be,” Thomas said. “I don’t know what he was getting at. There’s a lot of games, a lot of dribbles I made and didn’t carry. I’m gonna play the same way I know how. And that’s giving it my all and doing what I need to do for this team to win.”