The bounce is real.
No, I’m not talking about Kelly Olynyk’s hops.
I’m talking about that late-game shot made by Dion Waiters that was among the many big plays made by the Miami Heat in handing Boston a 104-98 loss which snapped the Celtics’ 16-game winning streak.
After Marcus Smart split a pair of free throws that cut Miami’s lead to 91-90, Waiters pulled up for a 3-pointer that hit the top of the backboard, took a high bounce and dropped through the net to make it a 94-90 game with 2:56 to play.
Just 22 seconds later, Al Horford – an 83.8 percent free throw shooter – missed a pair of free throws that was soon followed by another 3-pointer from Waiters.
“They were terrific tonight,” Boston’s Brad Stevens told NBC Sports Boston’s Kyle Draper following the game. “Miami played with incredible pace, with their ability to drive the ball, I thought they put us on our heels most of the night. No question, they deserved to win the game. Maybe that’s why they got the big bounce (on Waiters’ 3-pointer with 2:56 to play) and that kind of separated it as we were coming back.”
Said Al Horford: “Our group, we kept fighting, we kept pushing each other. We have to give the Heat credit. They did what they needed to do, they stuck it out and they beat us.”
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 104-98 loss to the Miami Heat which snapped Boston’s 16-game winning streak as well as ended Boston’s eight-game winning streak over the Heat.
On the heels of his worst game as a pro (he was 0-for-10 in loss to Indiana on Sunday), Waiters was the difference-maker above all others on Wednesday. He finished with 26 points which included a team-best eight points in the fourth quarter.
He didn’t lead the Celtics in scoring, but he was very impressive with his play in the second half to bring Boston within striking distance in the fourth quarter. He had 18 points and seven rebounds along with four assists.
While Waiters closed out the win for Miami with a strong fourth quarter, Dragic put the Heat in position for the win with a strong game most of the night. He would finish with a game-high 27 points. He also had five rebounds and four assists.
Irving came up with a slew of late-game baskets to keep hope alive that the Celtics could once again rally from a double-digit deficit and win. Even though he and the Celtics came up short, Irving still tallied a team-high 23 points and did so on an efficient 11-for-22 shooting night.
It was a rough night shooting the ball for Horford who had X points on 3-for-10 shooting. He wasn’t any better from the free throw line while missing both of his free throw attempts in the fourth.
There were signs of improvement with Marcus Morris (14 points) playing with the second unit, but this unit continues to struggle when it comes to making shots. For the game, Boston’s backups shot 9-for-28 (32.1 percent).