On a chilly Martin Luther King Day in Boston, the Celtics starters were able to stay hot enough to scorch the Heat, as the Celtics were able to win 107-99. It was a big night for Irving, who nearly had the thief’s triple double, posting a 28-10-8-3 line. The rest of the Celtics starters were similarly productive with 19, 16, and 17 points from Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, and Marcus Morris respectively. Derrick Jones Jr. would pace the Heat with 18 points and nine rebounds
We’ll pick things up in the back half of the 4th quarter, when Miami cut what was a 22 point lead to 7, leading to Stevens reinserting his starting five. An Irving miss and long Waiters jumper would further cut the lead to 5. However, Irving would settle things down with back to back acrobatic buckets to threaten another double digit lead. Bam Adebayo would get a point at the line, and Irving would get another pair.
The Heat would continue to cling to striking distance by returning to the charity stripe, getting there 8 times in the final three minutes. However, the Celtics would hold on after a pair of Morris free throws would seal the game.
The Celtics got the start they wanted, scoring 12 of the game’s first 14 points, leading to an early timeout for the Heat. Miami would settle into the game, but would still find themselves down 10 at the end of the first, 33-23.
Kyrie hits the 3 and draws contact! pic.twitter.com/8y5gYZqH4B— Boston Celtics (@celtics) January 21, 2019
However, Miami went on an 11-4 run to open the second quarter to cut the Celtics lead to three. It would be a tight quarter from there on out, with the Celtics and Heat trading blows throughout the quarter, which ended with the half tied at 50-50. The biggest change between the quarters was the rebounding as the Celtics built a hefty rebounding advantage in the first quarter, only to see that advantage disappear in the second quarter.
However, that would be the last time the two teams were even as the Celtics would win this game with a big penultimate frame. The Celtics would rediscover their shooting touch to open the third quarter scoring on their first four shots and reopening a hefty nine point lead. That run was capped by a nifty between-the-legs pass by Irving to find Smart in the corner for a three.
The third quarter barrage would continue fueled by 11 points from Tatum and 10 from Al Horford. When the dust cleared, at the end of the period, the Celtics had outscored the Heat 37-18.
The Heat would keep things interesting against the Celtics bench, scoring 9 straight points early on in the 4th quarter to force a timeout by Brad Stevens. Jaylen Brown would re-establish the tone with two points out of the timeout and a steal on the next defensive possession. A series of turnovers by the Celtics would prop the door upon even further for the Heat as they would cut it to under inside of the final six minutes.
The Celtics will be back in action at TD Garden on Wednesday, as the Cleveland Cavaliers come to town for the Celtics final game before their anticipated match up with the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night.