Heat hope to close out series in Game 5 at home

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Heat hope to close out series in Game 5 at home

By JessicaCamerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON - As the Boston Celtics look to reclaim the Eastern Conference semifinals one game at a time, the Miami Heat have more of a short term plan for themselves -- wrap things up on Wednesday in Miami.

Thats our goal, said LeBron James. Our goal is to win the next game. Our home floor, our home fans, they have been waiting for this opportunity for a long time. We are going to come out with the same game plan from the last four games and give our fans what they want to see.

After a 98-90 overtime loss on Monday in Boston, the Celtics are facing elimination in Game 5. The Heat were able to do what the Cs were unable to in Games 1 and 2 -- win on the road. Now the Celtics have no choice but to get a victory in South Beach.

We dont look at it like whether were in Miami or Boston, said Ray Allen. Weve had to win on the road in our history together. Weve had to win in some tough environments. This is no different. At the end of the day when you lace them up, its five-on-five and we have to trust in who we have out there on the floor.

As the Celtics prepare to save their season, the Heat will gear up for a hard-nosed battle.

Its not going to be easy, said Mike Bibby. Weve got to understand that theyve got a championship DNA. Theyre a championship-caliber team and theyre not just going to give it to us. Its going to be another hard-fought game and weve got to be ready for it.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA. She can be reached at jessicacamerato@gmail.com.

WATCH: Celtics vs. Raptors

WATCH: Celtics vs. Raptors

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Celtics-Raptors preview: DeRozan, Lowry a challenge for Bradley, C's

Celtics-Raptors preview: DeRozan, Lowry a challenge for Bradley, C's

BOSTON – Avery Bradley doesn’t mind being a standout, but this is probably not what he had in mind. 

Injuries have ravaged the Boston Celtics’ starting five to the point where only one player, Bradley, has been with the first unit in all 22 games this season. 

Just like Bradley was looked upon to step his game up in the absence of Isaiah Thomas (right groin) at Orlando on Wednesday, he will once again be challenged to lead Boston (13-9) to victory tonight when the Thomas-less Celtics face the Toronto Raptors. 

Bradley’s emergence as a two-way talent this season has overshadowed at times what has been another season of elite play defensively. 

And he’ll need to be on top of his defensive game tonight against a Raptors All-Star backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. 

Both Lowry and DeRozan present a different kind of challenge for Bradley who will spend time defending each of them at various points during the game. 

Lowry has good size, strength and deceptive quickness in addition to an under-rated perimeter game that will keep Bradley on his toes for sure. 

This season he's averaging 20.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and a career-high 7.6 assists while shooting 42.9 percent on 3's which is also a career mark. 

And DeRozan is having the kind of season that might get him a few league MVP votes. 

His 28.0 points per game ranks fifth in the NBA, but making his numbers even more impressive is that unlike most guards DeRozan doesn’t generate much offense from three-pointers.

DeRozan averages 1.8 three-point attempts per game which is the fewest attempts among any player ranked among the league’s top-25 scorers.

The 6-foot-7 All-Star is the master of the mid-range game which accounts for 31.5 percent of the points he scores. And when he’s not shooting the mid-range, he’s working a defender in one-on-one iso-situations. 

That helps explain why 76.4 percent of his two-point made field goals are unassisted. 

But here’s the thing about Bradley. 

As much as we give him props for what he does defensively, it’s his offense that has put him on the map as a potential All-Star this season. 

Bradley is averaging a career-high 17.9 points while shooting 47.2 percent from the field. He’s also averaging a career-high 7.8 rebounds per game in addition to shooting a career-high 40.7 percent on 3's.

But for Bradley, individual accolades are only going to come his way by the Celtics winning games; preferably against above-average teams like the Toronto Raptors.

And that would make both Bradley and the Celtics stand out this season.