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Boston is too scary for Terry, Celtics beat Heat 143-110

All eyes will be on Kristaps Porzingis’ ankle, but Boston dominated from start to finish in Miami.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Miami Heat Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics flew down to South Beach to take on the Miami Heat Thursday night in the latest installment of one of the NBA’s fiercest rivalries. However, this one was a mismatch from start to finish, as the Cs cruised to their 35th win of the season with relative ease.

The threes weren’t going down early for Boston, so Jayson Tatum took matters into his own hands by attacking Haywood Highsmith, getting to the line twice in the first three minutes. He then went at Tyler Herro off a switch and got to the basket for a strong layup.

All the hustle plays were going Boston’s way in the opening minutes, including this tough offensive rebound and layup for Derrick White:

Everyone got a turn offensively in the first. Jaylen Brown hit a pair of 25-footers within the span of three minutes. Transition dunks, open triples and hunting mismatches created a 42-29 lead for the Celtics after 12 minutes.

Kristaps Porzingis was the biggest beneficiary of this mini-explosion, as he led all scorers with 14. The Unicorn continued to feast against smaller defenders in the midrange. He, Brown, Tatum and White all racked up at least 7 points. Boston’s 42 were the most points allowed by Miami in an opening quarter so far in the 2023-24 campaign.

Boston’s size advantage was glaring right from the tip, but especially so to open the second quarter. The lineup of Pritchard, Holiday, Tatum, Horford and Kornet gave Miami significant struggles at the rim on both ends of the floor. Holiday found his touch from long-range, hitting back-to-back open triples as a result of great ball movement.

Former friend Josh Richardson gave the Heat a spark, scoring six points off the bench. Miami’s subs kept them within striking distance, but the Heat were clearly working much harder than Boston to create good looks. For every hard-earned bucket on their end, the Celtics were getting easy shots on virtually every possession.

The Heat fought to gain some momentum back down the stretch in the second, but Boston still led 77-64 at the break. Every starter except Holiday was already in double figures at this point, with the team shooting 64.3% from the field and an even 50% from beyond the arc.

Tyler Herro was the only Heat player with double-digit points at halftime, but four guys off Miami’s bench had racked up at least five to keep them afloat.

The third-quarter woes that have plagued Boston consistently were nowhere to be found Thursday. It didn’t matter what type of defense Erik Spoelstra threw at the Celtics, they continued to generate open look after open look, converting them at a high rate.

Unfortunately, amidst a third-quarter blowout, the story of this game suddenly became the health of Kristaps Porzingis. The star big man rolled his ankle landing on Bam Adebayo’s foot after contesting his shot and had to be helped to the locker room. He was on his way to a big night, but was cut off at 19 points as a result of the injury.

Boston’s offense stalled a bit following Porzingis’ ankle sprain, and a few careless turnovers allowed the Heat to cut the lead to 16. The Celtics quickly regained their composure following a timeout and Brown showcased his playmaking on a pair of dimes to Luke Kornet, who went on his own personal 6-0 run in the waning minutes of the third. Boston led 113-90 with one quarter remaining.

Celtics fans breathed a collective sigh of relief to open the fourth, as Porzingis rejoined his teammates on the bench to watch the final 12 minutes.

The three-point barrage continued, as Horford and Pritchard hit back-to-back long-range shots. For Horford, his streak of consecutive games with at least one three extended to 17, as the 37-year-old continues to defy the odds.

In his second game with the Heat, old friend Terry Rozier still seemed to be searching for his role. The guard’s shooting slump appears to have carried over from his final stretch in Charlotte, as he finished with seven points on 3-10 shooting.

The Celtics’ lead grew to 30 with 6:30 left, which ended the night for Boston’s top six. Tatum led the way with 26 points in 32 minutes, with all of the starters racking up at least 15. Kornet was very impressive filling in for Porzingis following his injury, finishing the game with 12 points and five rebounds. When the final buzzer rang, Boston had won by a monstrous margin of 143-113.

Next up, the Celtics travel back to Boston to face the red-hot Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday, January 27 at 7:00 p.m. ET.

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