With the news that Dwyane Wade was joining Chris Bosh on the sidelines with a knee contusion, it appeared that this seven game homestand, which Miami started out at 0-2, would only get worse. Thankfully, Miami's supporting cast gave a great fight on both ends against a Rondo-less Boston Celtics squad and managed to secure a 100-84 victory.
The HEAT jumped out to an early eight point lead thanks to the hot shooting of Shawne Williams (who finished with 11 points), but Miami’s had plenty of good starts in the past. The looming issue has been the 2nd half, as the offense had been repeatedly bogging down and costing Miami games. Miami took a 10 point lead in the half thanks to varied contributions from Udonis Haslem, Danny Granger and Norris Cole along with the usual steady play of Luol Deng.
The second half would see the Celtics cut the 10 point deficit to five before Miami reeled off nine straight points and held their double-digit cushion throughout the fourth quarter. James Ennis ended up being the star of the game, scoring 10 of his career high 16 points in the 4th quarter while also pulling down 8 rebounds. Ennis, with no Wade or Bosh to defer to, was at his most aggressive, earning foul shots and throwing down an insane putback dunk in the 4th that got fans and his HEAT teammates out of their seats.
Luol Deng paced Miami with 23 points on 9-15 shooting on a night he absolutely needed to be a number one option for a squad without much offensive firepower. Mario Chalmers had 11 points and 10 assists while Norris Cole added 15 in what was his best scoring game since the home opener against Washington. Also encouraging was the play of Udonis Haslem. U.D. added 10 points of his own, throwing in 6 rebounds and his usual stout defense. With back to back double figure scoring efforts, it seems Udonis is getting his legs under him and should earn more minutes on the team even when Bosh returns.
As a team Miami played their best defensive game in a while, granted it was against a revamped Celtics squad that just recently traded away Rajon Rondo. Boston shot just 39.8% from the field and no one other than Tyler Zeller (22 points & 8 rebounds) did much damage.
Miami continues their homestand against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday at 7:30.