By Tyler Sullivan Follow on Twitter @TylerSully
The Celtics defeated the Miami Heat in a highly anticipated, highly influential game with playoff implications in classic Celtics form — grit.
Boston struggled out of the gate only scoring 2 points in the first five and a half minutes. Miami forced the C’s to slow down their pace and had them play their game as they rank 28th in the league in possessions per game.
Boston’s offense woke up in the second quarter and then was wide awake down the stretch. The score 4 minutes into the final quarter was 82-79 in the Heats favor and that’s when the C’s pushed down on the peddle and slammed the door shut going on a commanding 22-7 run in the final 8 minutes to claim the 101-89 victory.
Off the bench, Marcus Smart led the team in scoring with 15 points. The guard was all over the floor and the stat sheet also chipping in 6 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal.
Jared Sullinger was key for the Celtics on the glass in the final stretch. On the night Sully had 12 rebounds to go with his 12 points.
The Garden realy came alive with this fastbreak started by Marcus Smart and finished by Jae Crowder that felt like the straw that broke the Heats back.
This game means more than just the teams 35th win and Brad Stevens’ 100th as an NBA head coach. With the W, Boston hold the pivotal tie breaker over Miami so if by the end of the season they are tied for the third best record in the East, Boston will claim the crucial 3-seed and avoid LeBron James and the Cavs till the Conference Finals.
- The Celtics bench was what kept them in it early as the starters started off cold. Evan Turner was a spark early and had himself flirting with a triple-double with 14 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds.
- Isaiah Thomas was one of many starting Celtics who started the game cold, but made some clutch buckets and finsihed with 12 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds.
- Tyler Zeller did a good job brining Miami big man Hassan Whiteside out of the paint so that Boston’s guards could drive to the basket.
- Avery Bradley had a quiet night scoring 9 points and tossing in a couple assists. He did tweak his ankle, but played 36 minutes.
The Celtics are now 10-0 in their last ten games at TD Garden and will play their next three games in the friendly confines of Causeway Street starting with the Jazz on Monday.