Celtics-Heat takeaways: C's win chippy, physical battle in South Beach

Celtics-Heat takeaways: C’s win chippy, physical battle in South Beach originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Three Key Storylines

The Boston Celtics outlasted the Miami Heat on Sunday in what felt like a playoff game in South Beach.

After a back-and-forth first quarter, the Celtics took control in the second and entered the half with a nine-point lead. Miami cut that deficit to four with a 13-2 third-quarter run and kept it close in a tense fourth, but Boston escaped with a 110-106 victory to sweep the season series against its Eastern Conference rival.

It was a physical showdown from start to finish. Heat guards Josh Richardson (shoulder) and Terry Rozier (knee) sustained injuries in separate collisions. In the fourth quarter, tensions boiled over after Celtics star Jaylen Brown got mixed up with Heat sharpshooter Duncan Robinson, earning Brown a Flagrant 1 foul.

That led to some jawing back and forth between the two sides. You can watch the entire sequence below:

Never a dull moment when these two teams match up.

Jayson Tatum and Kristaps Porzingis led the Celtics with 26 and 25 points, respectively. Jaylen Brown chipped in 20 points of his own, including a clutch 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter.

With Jimmy Butler (personal reasons) out, the Heat were led by Tyler Herro (24 points) and Bam Adebayo (22 points, 13 rebounds).

The Celtics (41-12) will wrap up their quick two-game road trip Tuesday night against the Brooklyn Nets (21-31). First, here are three takeaways from Sunday’s game.


Another Tatum-Porzingis masterclass

Fresh off their dominant performances against the Washington Wizards on Friday, Tatum and Porzingis stayed hot in Miami.

Tatum picked up where he left off, putting the NBA world on triple-double watch early with a 14-point, six-rebound, four-assist first half.

The five-time All-Star did damage on both ends against the team that cost him a trip to the NBA Finals last June. He ended up with 26 points on 11-of-20 shooting (2-6 from 3), 10 rebounds, and nine assists — just one shy from a triple-double after coming two assists shy in Friday’s win.

As for Porzingis, no one is hotter than “The Unicorn” right now. Like Tatum, he carried his momentum from Friday into Sunday’s game, tallying 16 points and eight boards in the first half.

Porzingis took advantage of major mismatches throughout the game. Outside of Adebayo, Miami simply had no answer for the 7-foot-2 Latvian.

The only thing stopping Porzingis on Sunday was a minor injury setback. He exited to the locker room midway through the third quarter due to a lower back contusion. Fortunately, he shook it off and was back on the court for the fourth. Still, that injury will be worth monitoring with only two games remaining until the All-Star break.

Porzingis finished with 25 points (8-14 FG, 2-4 3-PT), nine rebounds, three assists, and a block in 32 minutes. He tied a career-long streak of four games with at least 25 points.

Big shots from Jrue and Jaylen

While Tatum and Porzingis carried most of the offensive load, Jrue Holiday and Jaylen Brown came through with big 3-pointers when Boston needed them most.

Holiday notched 15 points with all of them coming from deep (5-for-6). He also dished six assists while playing his usual stellar defense.

Holiday has quietly been the best 3-point shooter from the corner this season. As pointed out by our Chris Forsberg, the prized offseason addition is 33-of-54 (61.1 percent) on corner 3s.

Brown entered Sunday’s game slumping from 3-point range. He was just 1-for-14 from beyond the arc over his last five games, failing to make one in his last four.

That unflattering streak came to an end in Miami. The three-time All-Star was 3-of-8 from deep, including this huge shot late in the fourth quarter:

Brown ended up right behind Tatum and Porzingis in the scoring column with 20 points, along with nine rebounds. He also made a difference in ways that didn’t show up on the box score, including a clutch save late in the fourth to keep Boston’s crucial possession alive.

Terry Rozier goes down with knee injury

The Heat entered this game short-handed with their star Jimmy Butler out due to a death in his family. They also lost two players — both ex-Celtics — to injuries during the matchup.

First, Josh Richardson suffered what appeared to be a dislocated right shoulder in the second quarter. He was immediately ruled out for the remainder of the game.

In the third, old friend Terry Rozier went down with a right knee injury after a collision with former teammate Al Horford. You can watch the play below:

Rozier, who was traded from Charlotte to Miami in late January, limped off the court under his own power but was forced to miss the rest of the game.

Prior to the injury, Rozier was a problem for the C’s. “Scary Terry” notched 13 points (11 in first half), six assists, and four rebounds in 24 minutes.

The severity of Rozier’s injury is currently unclear.

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