Undermanned Heat knock off Celtics 100-84, spoil Marcus Smart's starting PG debut
Playing without both Dwyane Wade (bruised knee) and Chris Bosh (strained calf), the Heat easily dispatched the Celtics, 100-84 in Miami. Marcus Smart entered Boston's starting lineup for the first time in his brief NBA career, taking over the reigns at point guard in the second game of the post-Rajon Rondo era.
Smart finished with three points, four assists and four rebounds while shooting 1-for-4 from the floor (all three-pointers) in 28 minutes. Luol Deng led the Heat with 23 points on 9-for-15 shooting. Tyler Zeller paced the C's with 22 points and eight rebounds in just 25 minutes of action.
Miami jumped out to an early 9-2 start, then kept the seven-point differential for a 28-21 edge at the end of the first quarter.
The three new Celtics, Jameer Nelson, Brandan Wright and Jae Crowder all made their Boston debuts in the second quarter, playing together for several minutes. Miami's lead ballooned to as much as 15 during the period, with the Heat on top 52-42 at halftime.
After three quarters Miami held a 72-61 advantage.
James Ennis added 16 points and eight rebounds in 26 minutes off the bench for the Heat. Nelson finished 1-for-6 from the floor for Boston, with three points, two rebounds and three assists over 20 minutes. Wright contributed six points and three boards in 13 minutes, while Crowder went scorless with two rebounds and an assist in only seven minutes.
With the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference on the line, the loss moved the Celtics (10-15) into ninth place, 1.5 games back of Miami (13-15).