C's Flying Home with Momentum After Another Gritty Road Win

MIAMI - The Miami Heat no longer have a share of the NBA’s top home record after the Boston Celtics downed them Tuesday night with another gritty performance on the road.

Without the services of Javonte Green, Enes Kanter, Jayson Tatum and Robert Williams, Boston controlled the majority of the contest and made every critical play it needed to capture a 109-101 victory. What’s more is that the Celtics logged such a victory against a team that entered the night tied with the Milwaukee Bucks for the top home record in the NBA as 21-2.

This wasn’t just any win for the Celtics. No, it was one around which to rally, as Kemba Walker alluded to following the contest.

“That was a huge win,” he said in the locker room. “Everybody came in and did a great job playing their role tonight. That was a great team victory tonight.”

What should open eyes within and outside of Boston’s locker room is that this was the second such victory in three games by the C’s. Friday night in Orlando, the Celtics also managed to defeat a playoff team despite the absences of Jaylen Brown, Kanter, Tatum and Williams.

Not every team is capable of winning games against quality opponents when some of their best players are sidelined. Even fewer teams are capable of winning amid such circumstances and inside what was the most challenging road environment in the league.

The teams that can do so possess an extra level of character, an extra level of grit. The Celtics are proving that they are one of those teams.

“Just being tough, being resilient, staying together,” Walker said of how they’re doing it.

There were glimpses of this grit and togetherness early in the season, when Boston jumped out to an impressive 25-8 record. It had waned during the month of January, but Brown it seeing it return to a team that is as talented as any in the league.

“I think we’re getting back to Celtic basketball, how we kinda started the year,” he said after scoring 25 points against Miami. “Getting back to being a team that’s aggressive. Being a team that’s coming out and looking for bodies, rather than the team that’s sitting back on our heels. I think that’s the biggest difference.”

There is momentum building behind this team. You can feel it.

Boston has now won four out of its last five games, including two dominant blowouts, two gritty road wins, and one road triumph in a building that almost never allows its visitors to come out on top.

And this was all without full health. Just think about what the Celtics could become in the next two-plus weeks heading into the All-Star break.

Tatum is on the verge of returning after missing the entire three-game road trip with a right groin strain. He very well may play Thursday night against Golden State. So, too, could Kanter, who has missed the last three games with a right hip contusion, and Green. The high-flying and shot-blocking Williams, meanwhile, is eying a return to the lineup following the All-Star break.

The stars are out there, and they may just Abe aligning for the Boston Celtics.

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