The Miami Heat are in the thick of trying to stay tight in a playoff race at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. The Boston Celtics are a few games behind them, and the battle between these two was very important.
The Heat welcomed back Luol Deng and Hassan Whiteside to the lineup after both missed the last game. But they would again be short-handed without Goran Dragic and Udonis Haslem not available -- in addition to Chris Bosh, Josh McRoberts and Zoran Dragic (Skyforce).
Side Note: Chris Bosh met with the media before the game, welcomed the Heat crowd and sat on the Heat bench for the first time in 26 days since his departure. Read about it here
The Heat spent most of the first half trailing, and trying to keep Boston from getting too far ahead. It seemed as though the Heat weren't getting good looks offensively for much of the first quarter, but a late push helped them stay tight. The second quarter was similar in fashion as the Heat closed with a 6-0 run to trail by only three at the half. Wade had 13 points in the first half.
Miami took a brief lead in the third quarter, but it didn't last very long.
The game was beginning to turn south for the Heat when it got escalated. Hassan Whiteside, and Kelly Olynyk got a bit physical and Hassan took it too far. He followed a physical encounter with a cheap shot to the back of Olynyk's head. That sent him to the ground. Whiteside was called for a Flagrant-2 Foul and was ejected from the game, his second ejection in 3 games.
After that encounter, the Heat headed into the fourth quarter trailing by 9 points to Boston. The Heat got to within 3 points in the fourth with the help of Dwyane Wade, but they couldn't stop the Celtics. Boston dominated the Heat on the offensive glass and continually found open shooters in the mid range to hurt the Heat.
These are the names that hurt the Heat tonight: Kelly Olynyk, Luigi Datome, Jonas Jerebko, Brandon Bass and Isaiah Thomas. In fact, off the bench, the Celtics crushed the Heat. Isaiah Thomas scored 25 points and 15 in the fourth quarter to put away the Heat, they simply couldn't handle him when it mattered. It out-weighed Dwyane Wade's 15 points in the 4th, he had 34 points overall.
Boston had 16 offensive rebounds. The Heat had trouble scoring against one of the worst defensive teams in the league. It was just a bad night for Miami overall, and it could have been better if they were just a little bit more healthy. The Heat will have their work cut out for them trying to make the playoffs. They remain in 9th place. They could have improved to 7th if they won (as Charlotte lost as well).
Miami's home woes continue, and this is their 12th loss to a sub .500 team. Hard to make improvements with games like this.
The Celtics won the game 100-90.
Dwyane Wade did have this beauty in the game!
Next up for the Heat: Wednesday night at home against the Brooklyn Nets.