Celtics' defense doesn’t show up until its too late against undermanned Heat: The schedule gods appeared to be on the Celtics' side tonight when they drew the Heat on the second half of a back-to-back with Jimmy Butler (ankle) taking the night off. Boston had a chance to essentially clinch the No. 3 seed with a victory but instead found themselves digging out of a 15-point deficit for the final three quarters. The defense was primarily to blame as the Heat piled up 91 points in the first three quarters and held off a couple of late Boston rallies to secure a 112-106 victory.
Five different players scored in double figures for the Heat, led by center Bam Adebayo (21 points, career-high 18 free throw attempts) and Duncan Robinson (21 points).
Jayson Tatum led the C’s with 23 points but the C’s had an inefficient shooting night overall, knocking down just 31 percent of their 3s and 43 percent from the field. That combined with a parade to the FT stripe by the Heat (39 attempts on the night) built a double-digit lead early for Miami that Boston wasn’t able to fully dig out of.
The C’s lead in the East for the No. 3 seed is now down to 1.5 games with five games left to play.
Kemba Walker plays crunch time but doesn’t get help:The All-Star got his first taste of crunch time in the