The Boston Celtics’ big men came up big, but it wasn’t necessarily how you would have expected.
It wasn’t rebounds or blocked shots, but jumpers and 3-pointers by the big fellas that helped lift Boston to a big win, 105-95, over Miami.
Leading the Celtics’ big men bombing away was Amir Johnson who nailed both of his 3-point attempts.
Boston anticipated Heat center Hassan Whiteside would be defending either Johnson or Jared Sullinger which meant one of them – it was Johnson – would get a decent amount of looks at the basket from the perimeter.
“He was ready to shoot them, and he knocked down some big shots,” Sullinger, who was 1-for-2 on 3s Monday, said of Johnson.
The way Johnson saw it, Whiteside not rotating out to him quickly left him little choice but to let it fly.
“He gave me all the time in the world to take my shot,” Johnson said.
And that had a domino effect on Boston’s other shooters.
“They’re a big part of what we do,” said Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, referring to Boston’s big men. “When they can put the ball in the hole, that makes it harder the other team to guard anybody else on the team. When they’re a factor in the game, we’re a tougher team; we’re a more complete team. They did what they needed to do and we got the win.”
And with the victory, there were a number of standout performances.
Here’s a look at the Stars, Studs and Duds from Monday’s victory.
Bradley is starting to look more and more like a solid, better-than-average two-way player. He had 25 points on an efficient 9-for-15 shooting from the field. Bradley also made his presence felt defensively down the stretch by limiting Dwyane Wade in the game’s closing minutes.
There was a stretch in the fourth quarter when it seemed Wade would single-handedly lift the Heat to victory. Boston clamped down when the game counted most, but that shouldn’t take away from an impressive 30 points by Wade.
No Celtics big man seemed more engaged on Monday night than Johnson, who was active at both ends of the floor most of the game. He finished with a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Bosh had a really good game, finishing with a double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds along with five assists. Despite the numbers, Bosh’s impact wasn’t nearly as great as his numbers might suggest.
Getting it done at both ends of the floor is becoming the norm of late for Turner. He had a team-high 13 points off the bench which included a blow-by layup past Dwyane Wade in the game’s closing seconds to help secure the victory. In addition to his scoring, Turner also had six rebounds, three assists and three steals.
He was among the Celtics bigs who did a nice job of forcing Hassan Whiteside to play more away from the rim than he would have liked. Sullinger had 17 points along with six rebounds and three assists
The league’s blocked shots leader was a non-factor for most of the night. He finished with six points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots. Even more telling was the Heat were minus-15 when he was on the floor which was the worst plus/minus of any player who stepped on the court.