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To keep streak alive, Heat must accomplish a first

If you don't think the Heat's streak is jeopardy on Monday in Boston, then you haven't been paying attention for the last three seasons. The Heat is 0-5 at Boston during the regular season since 2010.

Yes, the Heat has knocked the Celtics out of playoffs the last two seasons, and, yes, ultimately that's all that matters, but if the Heat is to extend its winning streak past 22 games, then Miami must accomplish a first since LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade in Miami.

A few days ago, Paul Pierce said he wanted not only for the Heat’s streak to end, but for Miami to lose every game for the rest of the season. Pretty much every soul in Boston is wishing the same thing. Dwyane Wade expects a hostile crowd on Monday and, despite the Celtics not having their star point guard and likely their All-Star power forward as well, the game represents arguably the most difficult game of the Heat's streak.

“It’s always a great atmosphere when we go there but obviously now they’re going to want to see us lose,” Wade said. “They’re going to want to see [the Celtics] beat us. We’ve got to step up to the challenge at the beginning of the game. It’s going to be loud.”

The Celtics are without Rajon Rondo, who suffered a season-ending knee injury before the All-Star break, and Kevin Garnett is questionable because of soreness in his hip. On paper, the loss of Rondo and Garnett would seemingly give the Heat a definitive advantage, but the Heat knows those things sometimes don’t matter in Boston.

“They still got a championship coach and championship player on the court,” James said. “We expect a challenge.”

The championship player is Pierce, who on Friday said he would like it if the Heat lost every game for the rest of the season. Pierce, of course, has said plenty about the Heat since Wade, James and Bosh united and has always, in the regular season at least, found a way to back up his trash talk at TD Garden.

“We’re going in there and we know they’re going to be ready for us and we’re going to be ready for them,” James said. “It’s a team that we could possibly see in the playoffs. I’m not worried about our level of focus.”

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