The Miami Heat needed a bounce-back win after losing to the Denver Nuggets on a buzzer-beater earlier this week and they got that against a hot Boston Celtics team tonight.
The Heat came out swinging taking a comfortable 18-point lead into halftime with this James Johnson poster on Kyrie Irving representing the Celtics' first half efforts.
Now that was just NASTY!! 😤 pic.twitter.com/J2wUPkhpxN- Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 11, 2019
In need of a spark in the third quarter, Celtics' head coach Brad Stevens called upon rookie centre Robert Williams to try and bring some energy on the defensive end. The collaborative effort from him and Marcus Smart got Boston going as they began to chip into the Heat lead.
"(Robert) gave us a huge lift," Stevens said to the media after the game. "He was excellent... he gave us a chance."
Smart was all over the floor per usual and came up with a massive block on Bam Adebayo in the midst of a Celtics' 16-0 run in the third.
MARCUS 🙅♂️ SMART. pic.twitter.com/ogvR8dePU3- Boston Celtics (@celtics) January 11, 2019
Boston's run got as lopsided as 21-3 and they finished the third frame on a 26-11 run to cut Miami's 26-point lead to just 11 points going into the fourth quarter.
The first few minutes of the fourth quarter were going to determine the finish of tonight's contest and Dwyane Wade made sure he put his old rivals away quickly. Wade started the half with two quick buckets, one coming off of a play we've seen him make so many times.
⚡️⚡️⚡️ pic.twitter.com/YZphqLfz1A- Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 11, 2019
Tyler Johnson knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and just like that, the Heat's lead became insurmountable for a weary Celtics team on the second-half of a back-to-back.
Wade finished with a team-high 19 points leading a bench unit that outscored the Celtics 58-20 - this was the clear difference maker in the game.
After the game it was Celtics' guard Terry Rozier, who claims Dwyane Wade as his favorite player of all time, who got to swap jerseys with the future Hall of Famer.
Terry Rozier & Dwyane Wade exchange jerseys postgame! #OneLastDance pic.twitter.com/4M8cRUbe7j- NBA (@NBA) January 11, 2019
The Celtics fall to 26-15 and are in 5th place in the Eastern Conference. As for the Heat, they are now back to .500 at 20-20 and in 6th place in the conference.