It’s hard to say which was a bigger factor in the first half of Boston’s Monday night matchup with the Miami Heat: the Celtics’ defense or the Heat’s inept offense.
Regardless, you put the two together and you have a relatively lopsided first half which ended with Boston holding a comfortable 48-31 lead.
After a relatively close first quarter, Boston broke open a 21-all tie with a 27-10 run to close out the half.
The Celtics’ first half was even more impressive considering Boston was playing without Al Horford who was with his wife back in Boston after giving birth to their second child.
Replacing Horford in the starting lineup was Tyler Zeller who had a solid first half with four points and two rebounds.
The Heat were short-handed as well, with starting shooting guard Dion Waiters (groin) out
Here are the first half Stars, Studs and Duds from tonight’s game.
He came off the bench and looked about as aggressive as we’ve seen him recently. He had eight points on 3-for-4 shooting.
The Heat were undermanned in the backcourt and Bradley made the most of it, leading the Celtics with 11 points to go with four rebounds.
His shot was off most of the half, but he still managed to put his imprint on the game. He had four points on 2-for-9 shooting but also managed to dish out four assists.
Just a horrible performance on all fronts shooting the ball by the Heat. The Celtics limited them to 37.1 percent shooting in the first half which is down from their season average of 42.3 percent which ranks 28th in the NBA.
At no point in the first half did the 7-footer look impressive. He grabbed five rebounds but only had twice as many turnovers (2) as made baskets (1). His inability to impact this game is one of the main reasons why the Heat are down so big at the half.
1:25 - With half of the Celtics roster on the shelf, we’ve been able to see just how great a scorer Jayson Tatum can be. A. Sherrod Blakely, Mike Girardi and Trenni Kusnierek discuss how Tatum compares to Celtics legend, Paul Pierce.
5:35 - The NFL Competition Committee is giving it their best shot at modifying the ‘catch rule’ and Tom Curran, Kyle Draper and Hardy try to wrap their heads around the proposed changes.
11:02 - The Bruins clinched a playoff berth despite losing to the St. Louis Blues in overtime. Joe Haggerty joins Tom Giles to break down the game, which included another goal by Ryan Donato and a questionable call on a high hit on David Krejci.
The second opinion on Kyrie Irving’s sore left knee will be done on Thursday, according to the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett.
Irving, who has missed the last four games, is expected to decide between having a surgical procedure performed to help alleviate some of the soreness, or continue to manage it with rest.
During the 2015 NBA Finals, Irving suffered a fractured left kneecap injury which was the beginning of Irving’s left knee issues.
While Irving has had soreness of some form during various stretches of play this season, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has seen him making progress recently.
“That knee is still sore,” Stevens said. “He’s worked really hard to manage it throughout the entire season. He’s had some pretty good days recently. I’m encouraged by the big picture.”
But Stevens has made it clear that he supports Irving getting a second opinion, adding that Irving’s absence is due to the knee being too sore for him to play at a level he’s accustomed to.
“He’s out because of knee soreness, not because we’re choosing to rest him,” Stevens said. “That’s the bottom line. Again, we want him to feel 110 percent. He wants to feel 110 percent. Obviously, we’re fortunate we created a cushion early on in the year with playoffs and everything else. This is not one of those situations where we’re choosing to rest someone; it’s because he has a sore knee.”