addByline("Marc D'Amico", "Celtics.com", "Marc_DAmico");
MIAMI – Dwyane Wade tried to beat the Boston Celtics all by himself Monday night in Miami.
Avery Bradley wouldn’t let that happen.
Bradley, as he has done all season long, singed the nets yet again, this time on South Beach. He doused Wade and the Heat with 25 points while leading Boston to a much-needed 105-95 victory at American Airlines Arena.
“It felt good,” Bradley said of delivering a big night after Sunday’s disappointing loss in Orlando. “My teammates were able to find me. I had it going. I made a few shots.”
A few big shots, to be precise. In fact, Bradley may have hit the biggest shot of the night early on in the fourth quarter.
Chris Bosh had opened the final period with a personal 4-0 run to slice Boston’s lead, which once stood at 14, down to one. Miami had all of the momentum… for all of 29 seconds.
Bradley canned a game-changing trey on Boston’s next possession to bump the C’s lead back up to four and drop the decibel level inside the arena.
“I think it deflates the other team,” Evan Turner said of Bradley’s big shots, “because [the Heat] keep trying to make runs and I think it deflated the crowd as well.”
Bradley connected on nine of his 15 attempts on the night that included three 3-pointers. He scored 17 points during the second half alone, which accounted for more than 35 percent of Boston’s scoring.
Brad Stevens said of the performance, “He hit huge shots when we needed them most today to kind of settle us down when things weren’t going our way and that place got rocking a little bit.”
But it wasn’t just his offense that silenced the Heat crowd and led Boston to a win. Bradley’s defense was just as sensational.
Miami, and in particular Wade, hung around and attempted to push for a win during crunch time.
Wade scored eight straight points for Miami over a stretch of just two minutes and 30 seconds midway through the fourth quarter. He had the hot hand and someone needed to stop him. Bradley was that man, and he understood exactly what his teammates needed him to do.
“It’s just always going to come down to getting stops on D-Wade,” he said point-blank.
Bradley got those stops down the stretch. Wade went scoreless over the final 3:23 of the game while Bradley was draped all over him. Bradley ripped Wade for a steal, blocked one of his shots and helped to force him into three straight misses to close the game.
As Turner said, “He stepped up and played some great defense.”
And most of it was against Wade.
Which reminds us – this isn’t the first time Bradley has stepped up and outperformed the future Hall-of-Famer. To this day, the highlight play of Bradley’s career may still be his block of Wade’s shot on April 1, 2012, when Boston embarrassed the LeBron James-Wade-Bosh trio by a count of 91-72.
Bradley played great on that night, but Paul Pierce scored 23 points and Rajon Rondo tallied a triple-double. Those two stars got the credit for leading the Celtics to the win.
Tonight in Miami, it was all about Bradley. He was the star. He was the best player on the court. And he – not Wade – was the guy who led his team to the winner’s circle.