The Boston Celtics traveled down south for a matchup against Hassan Whiteside and the Miami Heat. The C's come into this game with some much needed momentum thanks to the health of all their key players. Though Miami is not the same team from last season, Boston will have to emphasize crashing the boards. Whiteside has been a beast on both sides of the ball so far, containing him should be the main goal for coach Brad Stevens. This game marks the first of a tough three game road trip for the Celtics.

Both Miami and Boston started off trading baskets, though the Celtics were able to somewhat pull away midway through the first quarter, up 17-10. This hot start continued, especially for Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley, who at one point had scored sixteen of the teams twenty-one. As a unit, the starters shot over 66% from the field, forcing five quick turnovers on the defensive side of the ball.

The second quarter started similar to how the first ended, the bench came in and continued to score while the Heat were struggling to get anything going. The C's kept going up big, with their largest lead of the game, 45-21. While turnovers continued to pile up for Miami, a key reason to why this game has been so lopsided. The 24-point Celtics lead fell to 17 as the half ended, with Al Horford beating the buzzer on a nice put-back layup.

Notable stats from the first half worth mentioning are the high shooting percentages for both teams, each over 50%. Bradley leads the way for the Celtics with 13 on the night, while Whiteside has totaled 15 points with only one rebound. The Celtics had nine team steals, forcing thirteen Miami turnovers.

The second half began with Miami slowly chipping away at the lead, getting the Celtics lead all the way down to eleven. Followed by a couple quick buckets by the Tacoma Twosome, stopping a Heat 8-0 run. Jae Crowder proved to be a reliable hand, hitting three of his first four shots from beyond the arc. While Avery continued his solid outing with 20 points through the first three quarters. The Heat were finally able to cut the lead down to single digits, with the score being 77-71 going into the final quarter.

To begin the fourth Thomas scored a quick five points for the Celtics, while the Heat missed three of their first four free throws.

Goran Dragic continued to feel it from deep, drilling two straight three-point shots. Up until this point in the game, Dragic has scored 27 points, going 4-4 from the perimeter. Even with the great play of their point guard, Miami continued to turn the ball over, finishing with twenty-three as a team. The Celtics were able to take advantage of the sloppy play and silenced the crowd by maintaining a solid lead throughout the final quarter. With three mintues left, Thomas was then ejected for a flagrant-two foul.

With that ejection, Miami went on an 9-0 run that brought the game to within four points. The big Miami run was countered with a clutch and-one play by the big man Al Horford. Who then followed it up with a dagger 18-foot jump shot with a minute left in the game, increasing the lead to nine.

Player of the Game: Al Horford (17pts/7rebs/8asts)

Photo Credit: Issac Baldizon

Follow Spencer Tawes on Twitter: @SWTawes

Anonymous 12/18/2016 08:46:00 PM Edit
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