MIAMI, USA– Lithuanian Zydrunas Ilgauskas has helped lead the Miami Heat to the National Basketball Association (NBA) Eastern Conference semi-finals.
In the opening round of the playoffs the Miami Heat had minimal problems at seeing off the Philadelphia 76ers, winning the best of seven series 4-1.
Ilgauskas started in all five of the games but saw his minutes diminish as the series progressed, raising questions as to whether he will retain his starting berth when the Miami Heat host the Boston Celtics on Sunday in the opening match of the semi final encounter.
Ilgauskas averaged 13.2 minutes for 5.2 points and 4.6 rebounds across the quarter final series but in the final game of the series on Wednesday the Lithuanian veteran saw just four minutes of playing time as Miami claimed the series with a 97-91 victory.
The series against the Boston Celtics has been one of the most anticipated of the year with the two teams originally predicted to meet at least a week later in the Eastern Conference Championship series.
This season Ilgauskas has put up higher than average figures against the Celtics, averaging 6.3 points and 4.4 rebounds with an average of 14 minutes playing time. His season statistics saw him averaging five points and four rebounds in 15.9 minutes.
The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat met on four occasions throughout the season with the Celtics having the upper hand, winning three of the four encounters. The Miami Heat however can still claim some bragging rights, having won the most recent encounter 100-77 on April. 10 on the Celtics’ home turf. In that encounter Ilgauskas grabbed eight points to go with five rebounds.