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The Boston Celtics defeated the Miami Heat 110-105 on Monday night at TD Garden in Boston.
With the win, the Celtics (46-32) remain fourth in the Eastern Conference. The Heat, meanwhile, stayed in eighth ahead of the Orlando Magic, who lost to the Toronto Raptors. Were Miami (38-39) and Orlando (38-40) to finish with the same record, the Magic own the tiebreaker by virtue of winning the season series.
Kyrie Irving returned to the Celtics lineup after missing their 110-96 defeat to the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday. He finished with 25 points and eight rebounds. Al Horford was also absent for the Nets game and had 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists Monday.
The Heat continued to be without Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson and Rodney McGruder, all of whom are nursing injuries. Dwyane Wade helped to pick up the slack, scoring 17 points in the defeat. Goran Dragic also had a game-high 30 points.
Celtics’ Big 1st Quarter vs. Heat Nothing More Than Fool’s Gold
After the first quarter, the Celtics led 36-17. Any fan who has watched this team all season knew exactly how things would unfold from there.
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According to NBA.com, Boston is first in first-quarter net rating (10.6). Over the next two quarters, the team’s net rating falls to 21st (minus-1.8) and 13th (1.9).
The phrase “flipping a switch” generally has a positive connotation in sports. An athlete or team suddenly transforms and becomes a better version of itself. The Celtics have flipped a switch all season, except they’ve gone in the wrong direction.
Boston starts out of the gate and plays at an elite level and then suddenly looks pedestrian.
One could potentially write off the second quarter as a result of head coach Brad Stevens turning to his reserves more. The team’s struggles in the third quarter are more confounding because the starters have had time to rest, and Stevens has had a chance to make any strategic tweaks and communicate that to his players.
As badly as the #Celtics outplayed the Heat in the first half, it’s still a game at the half. 61-47 C’s with Kyrie leading the way with 15. Can the C’s show a killer instinct in the second half that hasn’t been there nearly enough this year? #CUsRise
6:36 AM – Apr 2, 2019
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With 8:02 left in the first half, the Celtics led by 23 points. Slowly but surely the Heat chipped away at their massive deficit.
Kelly Olynyk sank three free throws at the 6:44 mark of the fourth quarter to make it a three-point game, 95-92. Boston opened up a little more breathing room before Wade again trimmed the gap to three points, 103-100, at the two-minute mark.
The C’s defense was unable to slow down Miami, and the offense wasn’t doing much better.