Miami Heat outlast Boston Celtics in closing moments, extend streak to 23
Coming into the Celtics’ home turf, history was not on the Miami Heat’s side, even riding on a 22-game win streak. The Heat had a 10-game losing streak at the Garden. Their last regular-season win at TD Garden was on April 6, 2007. One of those streaks would end Monday night. Something had to give.
After a superhuman effort from LeBron James in the final eight minutes of Monday night’s Celtics/Heat game, Miami finally registered a win at the TD Garden thanks to their 105-103 victory, thus extending their win streak this season to 23 games.
As the second quarter got going, the Heat were in 17-point hole. Jeff Green, who replaced Kevin Garnett for the night, scored in bunches early. By the third quarter, he had outscored the combined efforts of James and Dwyane Wade. In the fourth quarter with a little over eight minutes to play, the Heat were down by 13. It looked like the win streak was going to snap in this marquee matchup.
“He was locked in,” Wade said of Green. “He was on fire. We withstood it, though. We withstood what he did and what they did, and we worked our way back to make it a game.”
Green left the game with 7:39 to go, and the Celtics were up by 10 points. Green returned to the game with 3:25 to play, once the Celtics’ lead was trimmed down to three points. The Celtics’ hottest player had cooled down and didn’t score again. That left the door open for the Heat’s offense to take control of the closing moments. Even so, Boston had two chances to tie or win it. Paul Pierce attempted a three-pointer that rimmed out. A Green lay-up fell short moments earlier.
Avery Bradley struggled offensively, even though he put life into Garden with a last-minute three pointer. Jason Terry also got run down by Lebron James after he attempted to block James’ dunk shot, arguably one of the best dunks of the season. James, who took a step in Terry’s direction after the collision, was charged with a technical in the second quarter.
The Celtics bench gave them 17 points–more than the Heat bench who had 14 points in total. But it wasn’t enough.
The Miami Heat are now 10 games behind the 1971-72’ Lakers to tie for the longest win streak in league history. Miami coach Erik Spoelstra may decide to rest his star players by April for the playoffs if the Heat streak ends by then.
But even after losing Monday night, all is not lost for the Celtics. The Celtics clearly believed that they could’ve won the game, and would have won it if a few more calls were in their favor. But Doc Rivers said he was proud of his team’s effort.
“Besides not winning the game, we passed the test,” Rivers said. “But losing the game is what you remember.”