The Boston Celtics battled back from a 13-point, fourth-quarter deficit Monday night in Dallas to extend their winning streak to 16 games. A 16-point, fourth-quarter deficit Wednesday night in Miami, however, proved to be just a little too much for the C's to overcome.
But boy, did they come close during the final few minutes.
The Celtics were able to cut Miami’s lead – which reached as high as 18 points – to just one point, thanks to a 12-0 run that was capped off by a Terry Rozier 3-pointer with just 3:14 left in the game.
Hope was restored for the Celtics, who trailed 91-90 at the time Rozier's shot went down; but the Heat would not let Boston get over the hump.
On Miami’s next trip up the floor, Dion Waiters canned a miracle 3-pointer that hit the front of the rim, the top of the backboard, and then the back of the rim, before falling through the cup.
The Celtics had a chance to come back within two points when Al Horford was fouled on their next possession, but the big man missed both free throws. That was a bad omen, as Waiters drilled another 3-pointer moments later to put Miami up 97-90 with 2:12 remaining.
Kyrie Irving wouldn’t let the Celtics go down without a fight, as he made four layups during the final two minutes. However, Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside and Waiters combined for seven points of their own during that span, pushing the Heat to a 104-98 win.
Dion Waiters was extra fired up for Wednesday night’s game – not only because his Miami Heat had a chance to put an end to Boston’s 16-game winning streak, but also because he was coming off of the worst game of his career, and he was hoping to redeem himself.
The 6-foot-4 shooting guard shot a dreadful 0-for-10 from the field while putting up zero points Sunday night, when the Heat were blown out by the Indiana Pacers, 120-95.
He responded Wednesday by canning 11 of his 24 field goal attempts – including a season-high four 3-pointers – for a total of 26 points.
Waiters snuffed out Boston’s fourth-quarter comeback attempt by notching eight points during the final three minutes. He knocked down a pair of 3-pointers during that span, along with an emphatic dunk that sent the crowd at AmericanAirlines Arena soaring to their feet.
Waiters started off his week in rough fashion, but he more than made up for it Wednesday night by halting Boston’s win streak with his hot shooting hand.
Box Score Nuggets
- Goran Dragic scored 20 of his game-high 27 points during the first half.
- Kyrie Irving scored eight of his team-high 23 points during the final two minutes of the game.
- Irving logged as many steals (three) as the Heat had as a team.
- The C's limited 7-foot center Hassan Whiteside to eight points and 10 rebounds.
- Miami won the rebounding battle, 48-37.
- Dion Waiters dished out six assists. No other player in the game recorded more than four dimes.
- The Celtics had 11 turnovers and also notched 11 steals.
- Jaylen Brown (14 points) fouled out with 23.2 seconds left in the game.
- Miami's bench edged Boston's bench in the scoring department, 35-34.
- The Celtics tallied twice as many fast-break points (14) as the Heat (seven).
- Former Celtic Kelly Olynyk posted a game-best plus/minus rating of plus-17.
Quote of the Night
Sometimes you spend so much energy to get back into it, you just don't have enough left.
Brad Stevens on Boston's comeback effort.