Bleacher Report @BleacherReport
The Heat hand the Celtics their first L in 16 games! https://t.co/Ztxhl9523B2017-11-23 02:55:55
Kyrie Irving had 23 points on 11-of-22 shooting but was 0-of-3 from beyond the arc.
Dion Waiters scored 26 points, while Goran Dragic had a game-high 27 points to propel the Heat to the win.
The Heat reveled in ending Boston's streak:
Miami HEAT @MiamiHEAT
Waiters connected on a pair of clutch three-pointers late in the fourth quarter to deny the Celtics' comeback attempt. Naturally, his performance was a topic of conversation on social media:
Jay King @ByJayKing
"How did the Celtics winning streak end?" "Iso Waiters."2017-11-23 02:11:53
Jared Weiss @JaredWeissNBA
Dion Waiters ends the Celtics’ 16-game winning streak, once again confirming he is one of the basketball gods. GDP on Waiters Island is skyrocketing on the overseas markets as of the opening of trading.2017-11-23 02:57:12
Bill Simmons @BillSimmons
The streak couldn’t survive a trip to Waiters Island.2017-11-23 03:01:01
According to ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin, Waiters' heroics and the close finish caught the attention of some Cleveland Cavaliers players who were in their locker room after a 119-109 win over the Brooklyn Nets at Quicken Loans Arena:
Dave McMenamin @mcten
Cavs have Celtics-Heat on in the locker room and half the team are sticking around to watch the finish intently. When Kyrie scored to make it 97-92, LeBron chimed in: “Hell of a finish. Beautiful”2017-11-23 02:48:25
The Heat were up big for most of the game, and things only got interesting when the Celtics went on a run in the fourth quarter. Boston sputtered out of the gates, with Miami leading by as many as 18 points in the second quarter before carrying a 54-41 advantage into the locker room at halftime.
Boston ended up shooting 35-of-84 as a team, with Al Horford in particular struggling through the first 24 minutes. Horford was 1-of-7 from the field and 0-of-3 from beyond the arc in the first half.
Trailing by 13 points at halftime wasn't cause for major concern for the Celtics, though. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Boston has won five of six games this season in which it faced a double-digit deficit. Just in their last game, the Celtics closed a 13-point gap on the Dallas Mavericks in the fourth quarter before winning 110-102 in overtime.
NBC Sports Boston's Max Lederman noted as well the Heat have tended to start fast and fade as a game goes on:
Max Lederman @Max_Lederman
The Heat came into tonight 5th in 1st half FG% and 26th in 2nd half FG%. So Celtics are not in a terrible spot ¯\_(ツ)_/¯2017-11-23 01:37:23
The Sun Sentinel's Ira Winderman also questioned whether Miami's sloppiness would catch up to the team:
Ira Winderman @IraHeatBeat
These nine turnovers could start catching up to the Heat.2017-11-23 01:26:23
The Heat looked to have the game in hand in the fourth quarter. They were up 79-63 to start the final frame, and the Celtics were down 89-74 with 8:04 remaining. Ball Don't Lie's Dan Devine thought Boston had Miami right where it wanted it, though:
Dan Devine @YourManDevine
The Celtics don’t get out of bed until they’re down like 152017-11-23 02:40:56
Devine's assertion proved prophetic, as the Heat offense collapsed over a four-minute stretch of the fourth quarter in which the Celtics went on a 13-0 run to make it a one-point game, 91-90, with 3:14 left.
Waiters' back-to-back three-pointers gave the Heat some much-needed breathing room, and Miami avoided what would've been a major collapse.
The Celtics entered Wednesday night with the NBA's best defensive rating (95.8 points allowed per 100 possessions). Boston has been somewhat susceptible inside, though, allowing opponents to shoot 61.8 percent inside six feet (19th in the league).
Between the size of Hassan Whiteside and Kelly Olynyk—both of whom stand 7'0"—and the driving ability of Dragic and Waiters, the Heat posed a consistent enough threat inside to take advantage of that weakness. Miami outscored Boston 52-40 in the paint.
The Heat also used their size to out-rebound the Celtics 48-37, with Whiteside collecting 10 boards in addition to his eight points.
The Celtics have Thanksgiving Day off before a starting a back-to-back Friday night at home at TD Garden against the Orlando Magic. Boston then hits the road for a Saturday tilt with the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Heat, meanwhile, will embark on a four-game road trip starting Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves. They meet the Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks over the next five days before coming back home Dec. 1 against the Charlotte Hornets.
Advanced stats courtesy of NBA.com.