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Sunday, January 27, 2013
W2W4: Celtics vs. Heat (Game 44 of 82)

By Chris Forsberg

Chris Trotman/Getty ImagesThe Celtics and Heat renew acquaintances again on Sunday at TD Garden.
The Boston Celtics (20-23, 13-9 home) host the Miami Heat (28-12, 10-9 away) on Sunday afternoon at TD Garden (1 p.m., ABC). Here's what to watch for:

* RAY'S RETURN: After turning down less money and the protection of a no-trade clause to sign with the rival Heat this offseason, Ray Allen returns to Boston for the first time on Sunday afternoon. For more on the game's biggest storyline, hop HERE.

* SYNERGY SNAPSHOT: The Heat own the top-ranked offense in the league, averaging a whopping 1.012 points per play, according to Synergy Sports data. Miami doesn't just feast on turnovers (turning them into immediate points), but it also ranks first in halfcourt offense (meaning teams struggle to stop the Heat when they set their defense). Miami's top four play-finishers all rank in 88th percentile or better in LeBron James (1.098 ppp, 97th), Dwyane Wade (1.015 ppp, 88th), Chris Bosh (1.067 ppp, 95th) and Ray Allen (1.133, 97th). Defensively, the Heat are 11th at 0.912 points per play (second in transition, though, limiting the damage teams can do off misses). The Heat are susceptible to spot-up shooting (20th) and isolations (27th).

* C'S HAVE HELD SERVE AT GARDEN: The Heat won 120-107 on opening night in Miami, but the Celtics have won three of the last four overall and nine straight regular-season games at TD Garden. The Heat haven't won in Boston since April 6, 2007 and, according to Elias Sports Bureau, that is the longest current road losing streak the Heat have against any opponent.

* TRIPLE TRIPLE-DOUBLE?: From our friends at ESPN Stats and Info: Rondo has recorded an NBA-high five triple-doubles this season, including one in each of his last two games. Rondo became the first player to record consecutive triple-doubles in losses since Jason Kidd on Dec. 9-11, 2007. Rondo is seeking to become the first player to record a triple-double in three consecutive games since James from March 7-12, 2009.

* JAMES AND THE 20+ STREAK: One more from Stats and Info: James has recorded at least 20 points in 28 consecutive games against the Celtics. According to Elias Sports Bureau, that is the fourth-longest streak of at least 20 points against the Celtics in NBA history. Only Wilt Chamberlain (57), Oscar Robertson (48) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (39) have had longer such streaks.