A fourth quarter comeback was in the emerging stages for the Boston Celtics, coming into South Beach, Florida with an impressive 16 game winning streak. Cutting the lead down to 2 during the fourth quarter 91-89, a series of events and a off balanced three point attempt, which hit the top of the backboard then plopped into the basket by Heat guard Dion Waiters, eventually leading to the bigger lead, helped the 7-9 Heat get their 8th win of the year against the red hot C’s 104-98.
A backcourt tandem that does not mess around, veteran point guard Goran Dragic was locked in from the gecko, scoring an impressive 27 points, which was the game high from both teams. Following suit, Dion Waiters had his two clutch buckets during the twilight of the fourth quarter when Boston cut the lead of Miami to only 2 points at 91-89. Waiters collected 26 points in the entire game, but surprised the C’s with a luck of the draw three pointer which topped the edge of the backboard then fell directly below into the net, giving the Heat a four point lead 94-90 with a few minutes remaining in the game. Coming off the bench, scrappy guard Tyler Johnson bulldozed 16 points with an impressive 7 ripped boards to give the Heat more opportunities at the hoop. Superstar in the making Hassan Whiteside irked Boston on the rebounds, as he grabbed 10 of them with scoring 8 points. Old friend of the C’s known as Kelly Olynyk had a mediocre night, although faking some C’s players on some attempts to the hoop, but ended with a 6 point 6 rebound night. One stat line in particular that shows the missed opportunities Boston had was the free throw percentages. A concerning 70% free throw percentage as a team was one of the key differences in the 6 point loss, due to missing 8 total free throws that would of given them a two point victory. For the Heat, they shot a decent 88% from the charity stripe.
A game that seemed to be in their hands in the second half, Boston could not overcome the deficit. Besides at looking at tonight’s defeat individually, coming into the game with 16 wins in a row is a certain confident booster along with having a firm grasp of the Eastern Conference at a 16-3 record. Kyrie Irving once again led the C’s in scoring with 23 points, 3 assists and picked off 3 passes. In the past three games, Irving has combined for an even 100 points, showing the true nature of what he can do shooting the ball. From those three games, Irving has totaled 14 assists as well. Behind Irving tonight, rookie Jayson Tatum splashed onto the court with 18 of his own and swooping in for 7 rebounds and 4 assists. The 19 year old phenom dazzled with three pointers and the utmost confidence. Marcus Morris, who went 7-8 from the free throw line tonight, scored 14 points along with second year guy Jaylen Brown, who threw a cautious pass full court with less than two minutes remaining to give Miami more time to tick off when Brown’s pass fell out of bounds.
A tough game to let go of, Boston had a remarkable streak coming into tonight’s game but came out with improvements to work on through Thanksgiving weekend.
Next game: Friday 11/24 Orlando