With the Tuesday win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Boston Celtics have clinched another playoff spot for the fifth straight time and the tenth in the past eleven years. Last season in the playoffs, they had to go on without their star player, Kyrie Irving, and lost in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Cavaliers, 3-4. The Celtics will look to avoid a second straight loss, though, as they host the Miami Heat.
The Heat, on the other hand, are still trying to stay alive in the playoff hunt as they are sitting at the eighth spot with a 38-38 record. They will hope to make a second straight postseason appearance and a ninth in the past eleven years. Last season, they lost in the first round to the Philadelphia 76ers, 1-4. They will try to grab their third straight victory tonight.
The Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat have battled each other a grand total of 135 times in the past as the Heat won 56 games while the Celtics went on to grab 79 wins. This meeting will mark the third of four times that these teams will play each other this season. The last time they saw each other was on January 21 when the Massachusetts team handed the Heat a 99-107 loss. During that game, Kyrie Irving scored 26 points, grabbed 3 rebounds, dished off 10 assists, committed 8 steals, and blocked one shot while Derrick Jones settled for 18 points, 9 rebounds, one steal, and one block. Dion Waiters also had 18 points.
-Rodney McGruder (knee; 7.9 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 1.7 APG, 40.7 FG%, 35.6 3P%, 74.3 FT%)
-Josh Richardson (heel; 16.7 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 4.1 APG, 41.2 FG%, 35.7 3P%, 86.1 FT%)
-Justise Winslow (thigh; 12.7 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 4.3 APG, 43.6 FG%, 38.0 3P%, 62.9 FT%)
-Udonis Haslem (coach’s decision; 0.8 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 0.0 APG, 33.3 FG%, 0.0 3P%)
-Yante Maten (coach’s decision)
-Duncan Robinson (coach’s decision; 2.4 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.2 APG, 34.4 FG%, 26.9 3P%, 66.7 FT%)
-Brad Wanamaker (coach’s decision; 3.4 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 1.4 APG, 46.3 FG%, 50.0 3P%, 90.0 FT%)
-Robert Williams (coach’s decision; 2.5 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 0.2 APG, 71.7 FG%, 64.3 FT%)
-Jaylen Brown (back; 13.0 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.3 APG, 46.3 FG%, 34.2 3P%, 66.3 FT%)
-Greg Monroe (4.7 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 0.4 APG, 46.4 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 57.4 FT%)
-P.J. Dozier (1.4 PPG, 1.2 RPG, 0.0 APG, 42.9 FG%, 50.0 3P%)
The Boston Celtics would have a slight upper hand in the first half as they shot forty-three percent from the field while the Miami Heat shot forty-one percent. Kyrie Irving got hot for 15 points while knocking down four 3-pointers in the process. He also had five rebounds, one assist, and two steals while Jayson Tatum helped out with eleven points. The Missouri-native had two 3-pointers in the first quarter while recording four defensive rebounds and three assists.
Former Atlanta Hawks’ center Al Horford scored nine points while grabbing six boards. Marcus Smart earned himself eight points in the 13 minutes that he played while drilling two buckets from beyond the arc. 2017 All-Star Gordon Hayward played the most minutes off the bench but was held to just six points on sixty-six percent shooting from the field.
On the other end of the court, Bam Adebayo dropped ten points while getting ahold of ten rebounds and blocking two shots. Former Houston Rockets’ guard Goran Dragic also had ten points while Dion Waiters had seven points, including a three-pointer late in the second period. Hassan Whiteside was kept to just three points off the bench while Kelly Olynyk helped out with a three-pointer in the second quarter. Dwyane Wade played 12 minutes off the bench as he had nine points but it was the home team who went into halftime with a 61 to 47 advantage.
The South Beach would attempt to make a comeback as they went on a 58 to 49 run in the second half, shooting forty-eight percent from the field. During that run, Dragic lit the floor up with 20 points while knocking down 3 three-pointers in the process. He also had one rebound, three assists, and four steals while Olynyk added 11 more points to his scoring total. Adebayo earned himself nine more points while shooting a perfect one-hundred percent from the field. He also had a trey at the end of the game.
Both Horford and Irving scored ten more points each for the Boston Celtics. Horford had five rebounds, four assists, and one steal, as well, while Kyrie Irving had three rebounds and two assists. Tatum and Smart collected eight points each as the Celtics held on to hand the Miami Heat a 105-110 loss. Kyrie Irving finished the game with 25 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and two steals while Goran Dragic had a season-high 30 points, along with one rebound, 5 assists, and a season-high and career-high-tying 5 steals.
The Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat will play each other again on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.