(SportsNetwork.com) - The Miami Heat return to South Beach after a long road trip and kick off a homestand Tuesday night against their former bitter rivals, the Boston Celtics.
The Heat went 2-4 on their recent sojourn up the east coast. The trek started with three straight losses to the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Washington Wizards, then followed with back-to-back wins over the Philadelphia 76ers and Charlotte Bobcats.
A .500 road trip was at stake Monday night when the Heat visited Atlanta. They owned the Hawks in recent history, but it wasn't to be on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
The Hawks snapped a nine-game losing streak to the two-time defending champions, 121-114.
"We scored enough points to win, so it was obviously defense," said LeBron James. "It's not good basketball right now. We didn't have the effort for 48 minutes tonight."
James led Miami with 30 points, Chris Bosh scored 21 and Mario Chalmers had 17. The Heat were missing Dwyane Wade (knee) for the second straight game, but Chris Andersen (knee) returned from a three-game absence to score eight. Wade is listed as questionable for Tuesday.
The Heat get the Celtics upon their return home in a game that used to be blood sport, but, with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce elsewhere, the rivalry is probably dialed back some.
That's not to say the Heat won't be ready. They'll have revenge on their mind as the Celtics came to Miami and left with a one-point victory on Nov. 9. That was one of just three home losses for the Heat this season.
The Celtics have been lousy lately, losing two straight and 14 of their last 16. Rajon Rondo returned Friday night, but so far the new captain's return has translated into an 0-2 record.
After a loss at home to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday, the C's embarked on a quick trip through the south and started it was a 93-91 loss to the Orlando Magic.
With the game tied 91 apiece and under 30 seconds left, Orlando's Jameer Nelson missed a 3-pointer, but Boston's Kris Humphries was called for a loose ball foul on Tobias Harris, who calmly sank two from the charity stripe for the game's final points.
"This is not fun for me at all," said Boston coach Brad Stevens. "That's the bottom line. I'd like to see us get better and maybe win some of these, but we haven't. We need to move on and try to do it the next time."
Jeff Green poured in 22 points, while Avery Bradley and Humphries scored 18 apiece for Boston.
Rondo managed six points in 21:20 of action.
Newest Celtic Joel Anthony will face his former team after being traded last week.
The Heat have won three of the last five meetings between the two teams, while the Celtics have dropped four of their last six trips to Miami.