The Heat started things off with a Bam alley oop, though it was more of a tip in.
It was Marcus Start who got things rolling for the Celtics to start. He’s grown a lot more versatile this season. The Heat defense just had no answers for the Celtics’ offense as they went on a 7-0 run. Miami’s offense was atrocious, going 1 for 7 from the field.
The Celtics stretched out their scoring into a 15-0 run, forcing the Heat into a 2-3 zone before Miami’s reserves entered the game.
Boston’s assault didn’t end there with Gordon Hayward slamming one home, and Jason Tatum lighting Miami up from beyond the arc. I have to give credit to the Celtics defense that just seemed to drain the life out of the Heat.
Dwyane Wade made an effort to stop the bleeding, scoring a great jumper and turning defense into offense with a couple of steals. James Johnson, and Hassan Whiteside also brought some much needed aggressiveness to slow down the Celtics in they key.
Still the first quarter belonged entirely to the Celtics.
Dion got things rolling for the Heat to start the second, but the Celtics took over almost immediately with Horford facilitating, grabbing boards and dunking all over the Heat.
Dwyane Wade got in rhythm by throwing lobs to Bam, and connecting on one to silence the roaring Celtics’ crowd. He also grabbed a great And-1 of his own, and followed that up with a beautiful jumper sparking a 10-0 scoring run and making an effort to chip away at the Celtics lead.
Miami was burned often on second chance buckets on the defensive end, with Kyrie throwing up threes and spoiling Miami’s various comeback attempts.
Miami would continue to chip away by attacking the basket, but things wouldn’t get easier with the Celtics finding moments to build on their lead. Still Miami’s effort wouldn’t go unnoticed with a 9-2 scoring run to end the half.
Dragic hit a three to start things off in the third, but Smart would follow it up with one of his own. Still the Heat didn’t let up, with Dragic scoring on a fast break and cutting the lead to 12. In fact it was all Dragic, as he’d steal another one for an And-1 layup. With Justise and Josh still out, Goran has been shouldering the load and doing a great job (he’d score 13 points in just a few minutes).
Despite Goran breathing fire, the Celtics wouldn’t go down quietly with Marcus Smart continuing to feast from three. Still, Goran’s effort got them within single digits and stole momentum.
Bam was huge for the Heat, throwing down some ridiculous lobs and becoming an all around nuisance for the Celtics. Despite a great third quarter showing, Miami would head into the fourth down by 11, but ready to make a move.
Dwyane Wade hit a floater to start the fourth to get Miami within striking distance. Still the Heat’s defense was stagnant, leaving men open at the worst possible times.
Some great play from Dragic and Wade got the Heat within six once again, but even time Miami got close the Celtics figured out ways to score on offense. A Hassan block led to three made free throws by Kelly, to get within three. Unfortunately, left open again, Jason Tatum would convert on another three at the other end. Terry Rozier would follow him up with another a short time later leaving Miami down nine.
The Heat offense stalled as they chose to chuck up threes on multiple possessions. They were also weak on the glass in crucial moments.
With just over two minutes left, Hassan stole the ball and Wade hit a big fadeaway jumper. The Heat would lose out on a Kelly Olynyk blocking foul, that probably should have been a charge. A Wade tip in got Miami within four with 50 seconds left in the game.
A Kelly Olynyk turnover would cost Miami a crucial possession, and they’d “arguably” foul late on the next possession putting them in an impossible position. The Heat never should have been in a hole to start the game, but it certainly was winnable down the stretch. This was a big loss.