Instead they yielded a 19-7 run to close the game, allowing the Celtics to win their 10th victory in a row at home. The loss hurt the Heat in the standings, where they entered a game behind the Celtics in the Eastern Conference standings, and it could cost them in the playoffs with Boston securing the regular season series win.
The Celtics wore down their opponent with their superior depth, totaling 49 points off the bench, but the Heat hung tough with valuable contributions from reserves Hassan Whiteside (13 points, 8 blocks, 15 rebounds) and Josh Richardson (11 points, 2 blocks, 2 steals). But there was little else from the Heat's bench, with Gerald Green struggling mightily from the floor (0 points, 0-6 FG shooting in 19 minutes) and Josh McRoberts not having much of an impact today.
Goran Dragic led the team with 21 points, 5 rebounds and five assists and Dwyane Wade scored 19 points but had to take 19 shots to reach that total. Luol Deng secured yet another double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
In contrast, six Celtics players reached double-figures in scoring with Marcus Smart leading his team with 15 points on an efficient 5-9 shooting. Boston's All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas struggled in the first half, missing all eight of his shots and only scoring one point, but came on strong in the final quarter to help power his team's decisive run alongside Evan Turner after the game was tied 82-82 with less than eight minutes remaining.
Boston's smothering defense forced the Heat to attempt several tough shots down the stretch and they were undone with unforced turnovers that turned into baskets for the home team at the other end. The Heat were only down two points entering the fourth quarter but were outscored 29-19 in the final 12 minutes of the game.
They next travel to New York to face the Knicks tomorrow night at 7:30pm.