The Miami Heat break their two-game winning streak as they fall to the Boston Celtics on Super Bowl Sunday inside the Kaseya Center, 110-106. This game concludes the season series between the two rivals, but the Celtics came away and recorded a sweep against the Heat.
Miami was under-manned going into this contest as their main star in Jimmy Butler missed the game due to dealing with a death in the family. During the game, they lost two more stars in Josh Richardson and Terry Rozier who suffered shoulder and leg injuries respectively where they were ruled out for the rest of the game immediately.
Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo both led with 22 points, with Caleb Martin and Duncan Robinson who both had 15 points. On the Celtics side, they got a huge outing from their three main stars as Jayson Tatum scored 26 points, Kristaps Porzingis scored 25, and Jaylen Brown scored 20.
Here is a look at each half and three takeaways from the Heat's loss to the Celtics in their final meeting in the regular season:
A frustrating first half for the Heat
The Heat come out to a frustrating first quarter, not because the game was out of hand, but the team had a lot of chances to build a lead against their Eastern Conference rivals in the Celtics. However, they would finish the quarter with 22 points, while the Celtics only scored 26, which for an offense that is usually explosive, that isn't too bad.
However, when maintaining a good offense, you want to capitalize on any opportunity given as Miami shot 38.1 percent from the field and made four of their 13 shot attempts from three-point range. On the other hand, Boston shot 44.4 percent from the field and only made two of their nine attempts from deep.
Miami was a bit better in the second half on offense as they scored 28 points in the second period, but Boston was as well as they eclipsed 30 points in the quarter to build a nine-point lead at halftime. The Celtics would shoot 61.1 percent from the field and made six of their 11 shots from deep compared to the Heat who would only make two three-point shots and made 35.7 percent of their attempts from the field.
Rozier was the standout in the second period with his 11 points, but this was also the quarter that saw Tatum score 10 while his teammates around him contributed as well. Miami needs a very effective second half which is easier said than done as Boston is sound on both sides of the ball and with the team missing their star in Butler.
The third quarter was an absolute rollercoaster for the Heat as they came out flat to start as Boston built up their lead to 15 points. However, Miami would turn a corner and went on a 13-2 run to bring their deficit to just four points. Herro had 12 points in the quarter after just having two points in the first half.
By the end of the third period, the Heat were down nine as they missed some open opportunities, which has been the negative trend throughout this whole game. However, the injuries have been brutal as on top of missing Butler, Josh Richardson suffered a shoulder injury in the first half and then Terry Rozier had a leg injury where he was ruled out for the rest of the game.
Miami fans must've been at the edge of their seat the entire fourth quarter as they were clawing and clawing back into this game as they found a bit of a groove on offense. However, they would not be able to truly keep up with Boston. This would have been a prime time for Butler to be clutch in the game, but with him out, they relied on Adebayo a ton to get offense, and while he got some buckets, the team as a whole couldn't get a run leading to the eventual loss.
Another rough test on the road ahead
This past few weeks was an opportunity to build up some wins while they were at home for a good portion. However, within that time, they had that seven-game losing streak which has halted them in their tracks. However, they have since turned a bit of a corner since that team meeting and film session on Jan. 30 where the team set it straight with each other.
Now, Miami has to endure a six-game road trip where the next time they play inside the Kaseya Center will be the beginning of March. The competition will be stiff on top of it as they will face teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, the Philadelphia 76ers, the Sacramento Kings, the New Orleans Pelicans and the reigning champions in the Denver Nuggets.
On the road so far this season, the Heat are 13-12 and it is not known at the moment what the status will be of Butler, Richardson, and Rozier. Miami is now 28-25 on the season which puts them eighth in the Eastern Conference.