Through three quarters, the Celtics shot 50 percent from the field led by Jayson Tatum (28 points) and Derrick White (23 points) despite missing four rotation players. They appeared to have control over the game, but in the 4th quarter, they only scored 13 points on 5/21 shooting and would lose the game 98-95.
Bam Adebayo led the Heat with 30 points and 15 rebounds. Haywood Highsmith scored 15 points off the bench including four threes, and although Tyler Herro struggled most of the game, he hit two clutch shots at the end, and Miami escaped with a three-point win.
Payton Pritchard played 42 minutes and finished with 10 points, 4 assists, and 7 rebounds. Jayson Tatum’s numbers — 31 points, 14 rebounds, 7 assists — were great, but he only scored three in the 4th quarter and finished with seven turnovers. White had 23 points and 6 assists but went scoreless in the final period. Boston’s 13 4th quarter points were the lowest quarter total of any game this season.
The Celtics were at a massive disadvantage playing on a second night of a back-to-back while missing Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Al Horford, and Malcolm Brogdon. For Miami, Jimmy Butler was ruled out an hour before tipoff, and perhaps the handful of Celtic injuries influenced that decision.
The Miami Heat haven’t played like a championship contender through 48 games this season. Their defense is elite, ranking third in the NBA and first in January, but they have a soggy cornflake offense that ranks 28th. They play slow, can’t get to the free throw line, and guys like Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, and Victor Oladipo haven’t shot threes at an efficient clip. This was their fourth and final meeting, with the Celtics handily winning the first two and narrowly losing the third in overtime.
The Celtics trailed 30-32 after the 1st quarter despite holding the Heat to 40 percent shooting. Tatum played all but 18 seconds and led the team with 13 points. For Miami, all nine players who played scored, and Strus led them with 13 points. He would have had more, but foolishly tried to score on Derrick “Perimeter Mutombo” White:
“He can’t jump over a small town phone book.” An excellent call by NBC Boston’s Eddie House in just his second game doing color commentary.
Bam Adebayo scored 7 points to open the 2nd quarter and the Heat jumped out to a 44-39 lead. Justin Jackson hit a corner three at the 6:11 mark, his first non-garbage time field goal of the season. The Celtics trailed…