The Miami Heat have a well-earned reputation for being one of the hardest-playing teams in the NBA, a blue-collar team that seems to be at its best when left with little choice but to come out fighting.
They are the kind of team that has given the Celtics problems all season.
And here was a game on Wednesday night that Miami needed far more than the Celtics did, a game that ultimately ended with Boston prevailing for one reason only.
They wanted it more than the Heat, something that we have not been able to say a lot about this Celtics team, which pulled away for a 112-102 win.
With the victory, Boston (47-32) remains tied for fourth in the East with the Indiana Pacers, who, like the Celtics, emerged with a victory on Wednesday night.
The two will face-off in Indiana on Friday night.
But before looking ahead to that marquee matchup, the Celtics had to take care of the business at hand, which meant beating a Miami team that went into the night as the eighth seed in the playoffs but after the loss, now finds itself just outside of the playoff-bubble looking at a half-game deficit to the now-eighth seed Orlando Magic.
So, without question, the Heat had a level of desperation coming into this one.
And for Boston to not just meet that sense of urgency but exceed it on the road, speaks to how badly the Celtics wanted this game and with that, a sign that maybe this team is ready to start playing with the hunger required for the C's to have the kind of long postseason run they were built for.
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the win:
Gordon Hayward: Slowly but surely, Gordon Hayward continues to inch closer towards playing at the level he was at in his final season in Utah. Hayward came off the Celtics bench and finished with a game-high 25 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
Jayson Tatum: Tonight was one of the few nights when Tatum saved some of his best play for the fourth quarter. He finished with 16 points, which included nine points in the fourth.
Hassan Whiteside: Coming off the bench for the Heat, Hassan Whiteside made his presence felt early and often. He finished with a double-double of 18 points and 15 rebounds before fouling out.
Kyrie Irving: Only 8-for-19 shooting, Kyrie Irving still managed a strong scoring night to finish with 23 points.
Dion Waiters: Similar to Irving, Dion Waiters didn’t have one of his better nights shooting the ball from the floor. Still, he wound up tallying 21 points on 8-for-22 shooting from the field.
Al Horford: Once again the Celtics got a little bit of everything from Al Horford. In addition to another solid night defensively, Horford had 21 points on 10-for-16 shooting to go with eight rebounds and four assists.
Dwyane Wade: In what was likely the last game Dwyane Wade will play against Boston, he came off the Heat bench to score 17 points to go along with seven rebounds and six assists.
Bam Adebayo: One of the better young bigs few are talking about, Bam Adebayo finished with a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Aron Baynes: After a horrific 0-for-7 shooting night against Miami on Monday, Aron Baynes bounced back with a strong showing against the Heat to finish with his second double-double, tallying 10 points, 10 rebounds and a pair of blocked shots while making all three of his shot attempts which included a couple of tip-ins.
Goran Dragic: The Celtics made life miserable for him most of the night, as Dragic missed 11 of his 14 shot attempts to finish with just 11 points on 3-for-15 shooting.
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