The Miami Heat, playing a third consecutive game without guard
Dwyane Wade, defeated the Boston Celtics 93-86 Tuesday night at
The Heat scored the last nine points of the game to earn the win,
which was badly needed after a 2-4 road trip that was unbecoming of
the two-time defending NBA champion Heat.
Forward LeBron James led the Heat with a game-high 29 points as
Miami improved to 30-12, good for second place in the Eastern
"No matter who is in that green (Celtics) uniform, they play us
tough," said James, who had eight rebounds and four assists and made
10-of-19 shots despite going 0-for-4 on 3-pointers. "We are a good
team, but not a great team yet. We have to show up defensively."
The win was payback for the Heat, who lost to the Celtics 111-110 in
Miami on Nov. 9, the teams' most recent meeting before Tuesday.
Forward Jeff Green hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in that win, which
Celtics coach Brad Stevens called "a miracle."
There was no such help from the heavens Tuesday, even though Boston
showed great effort.
"I thought the last 42 minutes we fought as hard as we can fight,"
The Celtics (14-29) lost their 10th straight road game and also
suffered two injuries. Starting guard Avery Bradley hurt an ankle
early in the second quarter and did not return. Forward Brandon Bass
left the game in the fourth quarter with an unspecified injury.
Bass led the Celtics with 15 points, making 5-of-7 shots in 18
minutes off the bench.
Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, in just his third game back after
he missed one year due to a knee injury, finished with one point and
five assists in 25 minutes. He went 0-for-8 from the floor and
1-for-4 from the foul line.
Among the positives for Boston were the play of big men Jared
Sullinger and Kris Humphries, who each recorded double-doubles.
Sullinger had 12 points and 11 rebounds. Humphries had 14 points and
"Man, (Humphries) was good tonight," Stevens said. "Not just scoring
or on the stat side of things — he made a ton of plays defensively
that were good, smart plays."
Wade, who is dealing with knee soreness, missed his fourth game in
the past six. Wade sat out for the 12th time this season, but the
"maintenance plan" regarding his knees appears to be working. He is
shooting career highs from the floor (54.0 percent) and on
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With Wade out, forwards Chris Bosh and Chris "Birdman"
Andersen filled the void. Bosh scored 16 points on 7-of-10
shooting, including 2-of-3 on 3-pointers. Anderson scored 13
points on 5-of-5 shooting.
As a team, the Heat outshot the Celtics 51 percent to 39
percent, which helped make up for the fact that Boston had a
46-33 rebounding edge, including 17 to 7 on the offensive
The Heat came out hot, shooting 63 percent and holding Boston to
29 percent en route to a 29-15 lead at the end of the first
Heat forward Michael Beasley closed out the quarter with a
half-court, buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
Miami stretched the lead to 18 points in the second quarter
before Boston went on a 13-2 run. The Celtics outscored Miami
25-22 in the second quarter, when the Heat shot just 42 percent.
The second quarter featured the Celtics debut of backup center
Joel Anthony, traded by the Heat last week. The Heat played a
video tribute to Anthony on the scoreboard.
A Heat highlight came from oft-injured backup center Greg Oden,
who made his Miami debut last week. In Tuesday's second quarter,
he had an impressive block on Rondo and also a put-back dunk.
"He was a No. 1 pick for a reason," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra
said. "He's big, but he's an athlete. He doesn't (lumber) around
on the court. For someone who has been out of the game for four
years, if he weren't as athletic, coordinated and as talented as
he is, you would notice it immediately."
Bosh closed the half with a 3-pointer just before the buzzer.
The Celtics also outscored the Heat 27-20 in the third quarter
and trailed just 71-67 entering the final period.
NOTES: Celtics G/F Keith Bogans did not play due to "personal
reasons." ... G Toney Douglas, still waiting to make his debut
with the Heat after being acquired in a recent trade, has joined
the team but was inactive Tuesday. ... Celtics PG Jerryd Bayless
(toe) is expected to be out seven to 10 days. The injury to
Bayless, who was averaging 7.1 points in 20 minutes, means Avery
Bradley and Phil Pressey are backing up starting PG Rajon Rondo.
... PF Kris Humphries, averaging 9.7 points and 9.1 rebounds
since becoming a starter in Boston, is expected to be traded by
the Feb. 20 deadline because of his expiring $12 million
contract. Rondo is also considered potential trade bait. ... Up
next, the Heat host the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday in the
second game of a four-game homestand. ... The Celtics play the
Wizards in Washington on Wednesday before returning home to face
the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday.
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