By DJ Harding –
After dropping a loss to the Magic the Celtics played the final game of a back to back in Miami. This is the start of NBA Rival week with nationally televised rivalries all week. This matchup was the start of Rival week as both teams met in the conference finals in two of the last three years with each team winning once. Boston came in looking for a bounce back win and also not dropping both games in a back to back for the first time this season. The Celtics unfortunately were without 4 key players tonight. Jaylen Brown was out with Right Abductor tightness, and Al Horford was out with lower back stiffness. Both of them played in last night’s game versus Orlando. Also out were Malcolm Brogdon for personal reasons, and Marcus Smart with an ankle injury who both didn’t play yesterday. Robert Williams thankful returned to the lineup.
The Celtics opened up the game 7-2 behind 4 points from Jayson Tatum. The Heat would climb back in it and keep it through the first quarter. The Heat led 32-30 through the first quarter. In the second quarter the Heat would lead by 5 points being up 44-39 which would be their largest lead of the 1st half. Boston would eventually tie it up and then take the lead going up 58-50 at the half. Jayson Tatum was the star of the first half with 21 points.
The Second Half would start with Boston extending their lead to 13 and holding that lead throughout the third quarter. The Heat would attempt to claw their way back but the closest they would ever get is 5 points. But by the end of the third the score was 82-75. The Heat wouldn’t tie the game until 5 minutes and 45 seconds left when a Bam Adebayo dunk would tie the game at 87 and give Bam 25 points on the day. This was also part of a 15 point run as the Heat were down 87-77 and would gain the lead 92-87. The Celtics would get within 1 point with the score 93-92. Miami would score with a Tyler Herro jump shot. Before Grant Williams tied it up at 95 with a 3 pointer with 42 seconds left. Bam Adebayo would hit a jump shot to go up 97-95 with 20 seconds left. With very little time left Tatum brought the ball down for the final shot before being doubled teamed and turning the ball over. The Celtics would get one last chance when they fouled the Heat and hit one of two free throws. Boston with 0.6 second left would get one last attempt to tie the game. The last attempt would end in a Payton Prichard missed 3 and the Heat would go on to win 98-95. The Celtics have lost their first back to back this season. Jayson Tatum scored 31 points with Derrick White contributing 23 points. For Miami Bam Adebayo had 30 with the next highest scorer being Haywood Highsmith with 15 points.
When asked about the loss Postgame Joe Mazzula said “ I feel like the guys played hard but at the end of the day Miami made more plays at the end of the game.”
Boston opened up NBA Rival week with a loss and now have a record of 35-14 while the Heat improved to 27-22. Hopefully avenge themselves Thursday Night versus the New York Knicks which will be aired on NBA TNT.