Since we last left the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics:

Boston guard Jason Terry was recovering from the obliteration that was a LeBron James dunk.


Celtics executive Danny Ainge was calling James' complaints about officiating "almost embarrassing."
Heat President Pat Riley was responding by telling Ainge to shut the very-bad-word up.
All of which left Ainge no option but to reference Riley's "hair goop."

Friday, for the fourth and final time this season, the teams will take the rivalry back to the court.

Whether James is available to play as prime protagonist at AmericanAirlines Arena remains in question, having missed Wednesday's road victory over the Washington Wizards with a lingering hamstring issue. Minor ailments also leave in doubt the status of Heat teammates Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem, especially now that the Heat have wrapped up the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs. In addition, the Celtics will be without Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce because of nagging ankle issues.

But as Riley v. Ainge has showed, this has become a rivalry that transcends mere player matchups, with the teams having met in the playoffs each of the past three seasons, including the epic seven-game Eastern Conference final the Heat won last season on the way to the 2012 NBA championship.

"The Celtics game, throw out the record. It's a cliche, but that's always a highly contested game," Heat forward Shane Battier said. "There's always emotion, because there's history. There's playoff history. That's not something you can fake. It's there. And so we look forward to playing them and knowing it's going to be a passionate game.