Five Boston Celtics hit double figures in their 112-102 win in Miami on Wednesday night. Gordon Hayward lead the way with a promising 25 points, 5 assists, and 8 rebounds. Kyrie Irving added 23 points and 4 assists, Al Horford had 21 points and 8 rebounds, while Jayson Tatum added 16 points and Aron Baynes offered a valuable double-double.
With the W, the C’s closed out the season series against the Heat 3-1.
Boston mostly stayed in front through two quarters. Irving casually snagged 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting, while Gordon Hayward stuffed the stat sheet, putting up 10-2-2 and a block in the first two frames.
Jayson Tatum got into his bag in the second quarter after being quiet in the first frame. He opened his scoring with this nice move, dusting Hassan Whiteside and sending a second-guessing Kelly Olynyk scrambling to the corner instead of rotating to cover the rim.
Miami’s defense and three-point shooting kept them within four as the team headed in for the halftime break. Dwyane Wade knocked down a three-pointer, catching Tatum looking from the top of the key to finish the half. Boston lead, 53-49.
The Heat also kept things close thanks to some sloppy Celtics play early on. Boston coughed up four turnovers in the game’s first seven minutes. They cleaned up their play and limited themselves to only seven more in the whole game.
To start the third quarter, the Heat got charged with goaltending twice in two possessions, including one a beautiful fullcourt find from Hayward to a streaking Irving.
Meanwhile, Horford effective all night getting into the Miami zone, including a nice assist on a kickout pass to Irving for a three to make it 67-63.
Boston fouled their way into the bonus just past the six-minute mark. A possession later, Baynes was called for a blocking foul, putting Wade at the line for Miami’s fifteenth and sixteenth free throws with 5:04 left to play in the third quarter. Wade cashed in on his second three on the next Miami offensive trip to cut Boston’s lead to 72-70.
Bam Adebayo’s work in the paint on both ends of the floor helped keep Miami relevant through three quarters. The younger put up 12 points and 12 boards, with all but one of those rebounds coming in the first three quarters. Hassan Whiteside had double-double of his own, with 18 points and 15 boards.
Jaylen Brown’s absence showed whenever Boston needed to go deep into its bench. A lineup featuring Terry Rozier, Brad Wanamaker, Hayward, Horford, and Daniel Theis couldn’t get it going late in the third and Miami stayed close. Boston clung to its two-point lead 83-81 heading into the fourth quarter.
Hayward and Horford banded together early in the fourth, assisting for each other on two straight possessions where they got into the teeth of the Miami zone.
How bout this lefty dish from Hayward, right on the money to Horford. pic.twitter.com/UGMmhMDl8e— Marc D'Amico (@Marc_DAmico) April 4, 2019
Something really important for the Celtics from most March and the beginning of April? Horford and Hayward have begun to develop some really nice chemistry. They hadn't really played together all that much because of substitution patterns, but it's coming together now.— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) April 4, 2019
Wanamaker hustled into his only bucket—a long two off a screen to widen the lead to 89-83 with 8:55 to go—and prompted a timeout from Erik Spoelstra. Brad Stevens called his own just a minute later with the score 91-89, when Miami battled back on a mini run.
Tatum came alive out the huddle, scoring nine straight for the Celtics in a variety of different ways, including a coach-pleasing bucket from inside Miami’s zone on a jumper that rolled over the front of the rim. His energy amped up the pressure on the home team—Miami’s seams were showing inside the five-minute mark in repeated loose balls in front of the Celtics’s basket.
With 2:40 to go, Boston had their largest lead of the game so far at 106-96. Hayward stayed hot to help close the game, repeatedly pushing the ball in transition, getting into the paint for buckets, and hitting his teammates with nice passes. He continued his excellent night drawing a late foul on his way to the rim against Olynyk, snagging two more of his 25 at the line.
From there, Miami’s stitches ripped out. Boston battled for boards, survived a couple of late treys, and kept their foot on the gas pedal until the game was out of reach inside of a minute.
Boston gets a few days of rest before a pivotal game in Indianapolis on Friday. The Celtics will have a chance to take the regular season series against the Pacers at 8 PM, on ESPN.