BOSTON – Continuing their strong play at home won’t be easy for the Boston Celtics who trail the Miami Heat at the half 58-53.
The Celtics came into tonight’s game having won three straight and 12 of their last 13 at the TD Garden.
But the Heat have played well at both ends of the floor in a game that they have led for most of the night.
One of the biggest positives for the Celtics has been the return of Avery Bradley to the lineup. The 6-foot-2 Bradley, who has missed a team-high 24 games this season due to illness or injury, did not play in Friday’s win over Phoenix due to flu-like symptoms which kept him hospitalized. At the half he had eight points and two assists.
The way Miami kept matching the Celtics shot-for-shot in the second quarter, it certainly had to make a number of Celtics feel ill.
But considering Boston fell behind by as many as 15 points, being just a couple possessions behind at the half is certainly something they can look to build upon against a Heat team that’s 35-37, but are playing as well as any team in the NBA when you consider they began the season with an 11-30 start.
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Sunday’s game between Boston and Miami.
Always a problem for Boston, he made an impact around the rim throughout the half in which he had a near double-double of nine points and eight rebounds.
Miami has done a nice job of keeping his touches at a minimum, but Thomas is too good a scorer to be shut down. He had 10 points at the half on just 2-for-4 shooting.
Johnson and Johnson
We’re talking about Tyler Johnson and James Johnson (no relation) who have been a devastating 1-2 punch off the Heat bench. Johnson leads all Miami scorers with 12 points while Johnson has played the point-forward position really well with six points and five assists.
All the attention Thomas has been getting will continue to give Crowder great looks offensively, so it’s on him to the most of those opportunities. At the half, he led the Celtics with 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting.
He has made his usual share of hustle plays, but Johnson’s doing a nice job scoring when the opportunity is there, as well as holding his own defensively and on the boards. At the half, he has eight points while making all three of his shots from the field to go with four rebounds and two assists.
Too many mistakes by Boston not only allowed Miami to get some easy baskets but also took away opportunities for the Celtics offense to generate some points. At the half, Boston has turned the ball over 11 times which led to five points – the point differential in the game at the half.