The phrase “revenge is a dish best served cold” figuratively means it’s wise to wait and bide one’s time and wait for an unexpected moment to exact satisfaction. Boston, though, added a literal twist by getting back at Miami for their road loss in a frigid Boston Garden. Heat players were openly complaining about the temperature before the game, and Aron Baynes joked that it was 10 below on the floor before the tip, but Boston came out hot and then rode a big third quarter to a lead too big for Miami to overcome. Boston survived a late Miami run to win their fourth straight….
The Celtics stormed out to a 12-2 lead, shutting the Heat down defensively and pushing the ball off Miami’s misses. The Heat actually didn’t make a basket in that early Boston run as their two points came on an Al Horford goaltending call. The normally attacking Heat settled a bit and dribbled their way into a 24 second violations while the Celtics hit five of their first nine shots.
Miami picked it up after a timeout, essentially matching Boston basket-for-basket over the next few minutes. Tyler Johnson hit a couple of 3’s to cut into the lead, but Boston generally had an answer for every Heat push into low single digits, including a Kyrie Irving four-point play to push the lead to 12. A pair of late free throws knocked it down to 10 at the break.
The key to Boston’s early double digit lead was second-chance points and turnovers. The Celtics four early offensive rebounds helped them to 12 second chance points while they also scored 11 points off seven Miami turnovers.
The Heat scored the first six points of the second quarter. It was an ugly beginning to the quarter all around, with both teams exchanging turnovers and missed shots. Gordon Hayward’s layup about four minutes into the quarter was Boston’s first field goal and it capped an approximately two minute stretch where neither team scored.
A Josh Richardson 3 and Derrick Jones, Jr. dunk and foul were part of an overall 11-4 run to cut Boston’s lead to 37-34 going into a timeout. Miami kept it going after the stoppage, pushing the run to 18-7 and taking a one point lead on a Dion Waiters layup. Miami and Boston, or specifically, Kyrie Irving, started trading 3’s but Waiters, who scored nine in the quarter, laid another one in to tie it at 46.
The Garden woke up on a turnover over and transition layup by Jaylen Brown and then another poke-away and layup by Irving, but a Jones, Jr. tied the game at 50 to head into halftime. Boston shot 27.3 percent in the second quarter while turning the ball over five times. Miami returned favor in the second chance points column, scoring eight in the quarter.
The Celtics opened the quarter on a 9-0 run behind a pair of Jayson Tatum layups, another from Irving, and a Marcus Smart 3. The run over the first six minutes of the third extended to 20-6 powered by an active Celtics defense that ran off turnovers. A Heat turnover that turned into a fancy behind-the-back assist from Irving to Marcus Morris made the lead 19, forcing a timeout. The teams traded baskets until the end of the quarter to go into the fourth with Boston 87-68.
Tatum was a perfect 5-5 in the quarter and scored 11. Horford added 10 as Boston shot 72 percent in the third to balance out their cold second quarter.
Brad Stevens sent out an all-bench lineup that let the lead slip behind an 11-5 Heat run that cut it to 13. They exchanged baskets until about the mid-point of the quarter but Miami went on a 11-0 run to cut the lead to five. After another Steven timeout, Kyrie Irving worked his way to the rim twice while the Boston defense stopped Miami on consecutive possessions. After a pair of Miami free throws, Irving again worked his way to the rim for a tough layup to make it a 10 point lead. Bam Adebayo kept going to the free throw line to keep the game close and getting Miami within six. They couldn’t get it any closer than that, and Boston walked into the cold night with a 107-99 win.
Kyrie’s 26 points and 10 assists led Boston. Tatum added 19, Morris 17. and Horford 16.