BOSTON -- The ball was moving at a good clip for most of the night for the Boston Celtics against the Miami Heat.
But then things got a little too close for comfort, for the Celtics did what they have done a lot of lately when that happens - lean on Kyrie Irving.
And the perennial all-star did not disappoint, scoring six of Boston's final eight points to hold off a late Miami run to win 107-99.
Boston spent all of the first half in control, but the Heat made things interesting in the second quarter and eventually went into the half tied at 50.
The third quarter began with a 9-0 spurt by the Celtics, similar to the 12-2 run Boston opened the night with against the Heat.
After a time-out with 10:08 to play in the third, Miami continued to sink even further as the Celtics created turnovers, got easy baskets which put them ahead 87-68 going into the fourth quarter.
Boston had more than its share of empty offensive trips in the fourth quarter which allowed the Heat to trim the Celtics’ lead down to single digits.
☘️CELTICS 107, HEAT 99
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens brought Kyrie Irving back in, but that wasn’t enough. So back came the team’s regular starters with 5:07 to play and Boston’s lead standing at just 99-92.
Here are your Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston extending its winning streak at home to nine in a row while improving their current winning streak overall, to four straight.
Kyrie Irving: A strong first half of scoring and play-making set the tone for the Celtics. For the night, Irving was trending toward one of the more unusual triple-doubles with 26 points on 11-for-19 shooting in addition to 10 assists and eight steals.
Jayson Tatum: Like Irving, Tatum’s aggressive, attacking-the-rim style of play was instrumental in Boston getting off to a good start and playing with a steady amount of control all game. He would finish with 19 points on 8-for-13 shooting.
Al Horford: Strong play at both ends of the floor was what Al Horford brought to tonight’s game. He was well on his way to a double-double at the half (10 points, seven rebounds) before finishing with 16 points and 12 rebounds along with four assists and three blocked shots.
Derek Jones Jr.: Ridiculous leaper, Jones Jr. gave the Heat a nice lift off the bench before finishing with 18 points and nine rebounds.
Dion Waiters: He has made no secret about wanting to play more minutes than he is being allotted. Performances like the one we saw on Monday showcased his ability to score as Waiters tallied 18 points on 8-for-16 shooting in 26 minutes.
Marcus Morris: After a couple of sub-par shooting performances by Morris, he bounced back with a strong Morris-like performance with 17 points on 6-for-11 shooting.
Celtics bench: Their play at the start of the fourth quarter played a major role in the game being a lot closer score-wise, than it had been for most of the night. Brad Stevens had no choice but to bring back his starting five with just over five minutes to play and their lead down to single digits.
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