On the heels of another Miami Heat loss, it becomes even more important for the Boston Celtics to take care of business in their second round series against the Philadelphia 76ers, starting with Game 4 at 8 p.m. EST on Friday at Wells Fargo Center (TNT/WEEI).
Miami, which lost its second straight game against the Indiana Pacers in the wake of Chris Bosh's injury, must now win three of the final four games in order to win the series, a premise which is still entirely possible and even expected by many. But the plight of the Heat is perfect for another team that is widely expected to win its series, the Celtics.
Boston, which could very reasonably win its next two games to wrap up its semifinal series against Philly in five games, would benefit greatly from a few extra days of rest. Stars like Paul Pierce (sprained left MCL) and Ray Allen (ankle) have been feeling the effects of their injuries, and Kevin Garnett, while surging, has been playing close to 40 minutes a night and almost certainly can't keep up that pace this postseason. Just ask Doc Rivers.
Of course, there's still a group of basketball players that are out to prove they're worth. After pulling out an 82-81 win in Game 2 and temporarily stealing home court advantage, the Sixers were embarrassed on their home floor (they were overconfident, as Elton Brand said) in a 101-79 loss to the Garnett-led Celtics in Game 3. It was a statement win, no doubt about it, and guard Rajon Rondo said he and the Celtics were trying to send a message.
There are no guarantees in basketball, especially in the playoffs, but a Celtics win in Game 4 on Friday night would position them even better in the pursuit of their 18th championship.