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Bet on the NBAToday is the day everyone has been anticipating for weeks in the NBA Eastern Conference, as the Miami Heat take on the visiting Boston Celtics.

The game starts at the AmericanAirlines Arena at 3:30 PM ET on Sunday afternoon. This one game could have huge playoff implications for each team, as the two are currently tied for second and third place in the East.

Boston has been on a slide for a few weeks now, and have been a shell of their former selves since the Kendrick Perkins trade. Since the Celtics lost Perkins' spot in the middle of the paint, the team has been very weak against larger teams. The new rotation featuring Jeff Green has also not found a rhythm yet, and the Celtics need this win to prove they can still compete with the best in their conference.

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The Heat, though, probably need to win this game much more than the Celtics. So far in the 2010-2011 season, Miami has gone 0-3 against Boston. There is a strong possibility the two teams will meet in the second round of the playoffs, so it will be vital that Miami goes in with at least one win over the Celtics during the regular season.

So far, the Celtics have employed a strategy of allowing LeBron James to get his points while shutting down Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. With two of the Heat's three top scorers shut down, James can run free but can never effectively lead the team to a victory. Unless he gets some help from Wade and Bosh today, Boston should pull out another close victory.

In the three previous meetings this year, Wade has scored an average of 12.3 points per game on a miserable 27% shooting from the field. James has averaged 29.3 points per game, seven rebounds, and just under 7 assists. Boston has come out on top with margins of victory of eight points and three points in Boston, and five points in Miami.

 

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