Boston Celtics

Celtics-Heat takeaways: C's offense catches fire in statement win

Boston enjoyed one of its best offensive performances of the season Thursday in Miami.

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Three Key Storylines

  • Historic shooting night for Boston
  • Kristaps Porzingis exits with injury
  • Not-so-scary Terry Rozier

The Boston Celtics outlasted the Miami Heat in a high-scoring affair Thursday night to wrap up a perfect three-game road trip.

Boston set the tone out of the gate with 42 first-quarter points against its Eastern Conference rival, the most points scored in any quarter vs. Miami this season. The C's made 13 consecutive shots in nine minutes and shot 15-of-21 (71.4 percent) from the floor in the frame.

The Celtics' hot shooting continued in the second quarter, and they finished the first half with 77 points (64.3 percent FG) to match their season-high. It's the most points they've ever scored in a first half against the Heat.

They crossed the 100-point threshold midway through the third and didn't look back, cruising to a 143-110 statement win at Kaseya Center. Seven Celtics players scored in double figures with now-five-time All-Star Jayson Tatum leading the way with a game-high 26 points.

Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro notched 19 points apiece for Miami. Jimmy Butler chipped in 17 as the Heat lost their fifth consecutive game.

The Celtics (35-10) will return home to host the Los Angeles Clippers (28-14) on Saturday night. First, here are three takeaways from Thursday's game.

Celtics shoot the lights out

This was perhaps the Celtics' best offensive performance of the season, which says a lot given how often they've pummeled opponents.

They were dominant from start to finish, following a 77-point first half with a 66-point second half against a usually-stout Heat defense. Four C's players (Tatum, Kristaps Porzingis, Derrick White, Jaylen Brown) reached double-figure scoring in the first half. Jrue Holiday joined the group early in the third quarter, followed by Luke Kornet and Payton Pritchard in the fourth. It's the 18th time this season that all five Boston starters have scored in double figures.

The Celtics finished 63.7 percent shooting from the floor to top their previous season-best of 56.8 percent. Putting that mark in perspective, the Indiana Pacers have the best shooting percentage in a game this season at 67.1 percent (vs. Atlanta on Jan. 12). The best a team has ever shot in a game is 70.7 percent by the San Antonio Spurs in 1983.

Boston shot 22-for-40 (55 percent) from 3-point range, just three 3-point makes shy of tying the franchise record. The Celtics became the first team in NBA history to have five players make three or more 3-pointers and three or more 2-pointers.

Kristaps Porzingis exits with injury

Porzingis has been red-hot as of late and is making the case for his second All-Star nod. That trend continued in Thursday's game as the Celtics big man dropped 17 first-half points on 6-of-9 shooting, including the 3,000th field goal of his career.

He had 19 points before a devastating moment in the third quarter ended his night. Just before the midway point in the frame, Porzingis landed awkwardly after contesting a Bam Adebayo shot. He walked off the court with a limp and needed assistance as he left for the locker room.

Porzingis was held out for the remainder of the game with a left ankle sprain. The severity of the injury is unclear, but it's fair to assume Boston will be cautious with its prized offseason acquisition for the foreseeable future. Porzingis will play a critical role in the C's quest for Banner 18, so there's no need to rush him back into the lineup until he's back to 100 percent.

The good news is that Porzingis joined the Celtics bench in the fourth quarter and appeared in good spirits as he high-fived his teammates without an ice pack on his ankle. That seems to indicate the injury isn't as bad as it looked, but we'll know more in the coming days.

“I think tomorrow will be clearer, how it’s doing, especially after the flight and all that," Porzingis told reporters after the game. "But as of right now, I’m feeling pretty good. I’m just trying to stay positive.”

Kristaps Porzingis is optimistic about his recovery after suffering an ankle sprain vs. the Heat

Not-so-scary Terry

Ex-Celtics guard Terry Rozier got the start in his second game for Miami since being traded by the Charlotte Hornets. As a consistent scoring threat, Rozier undoubtedly makes the Heat scarier offensively. Jaylen Brown admitted as much following the deal.

On Thursday though, "Scary Terry" was a non-factor against his former team. He ended up with seven points on 3-of-10 shooting (1-for-4 from 3), three assists, two rebounds, and a steal in 29 minutes. That followed a performance in which he scored nine points on 3-of-11 shooting in his Heat debut, so it seems he's still settling in with his new team down in South Beach.

The Heat will hope Rozier finds his groove sooner rather than later. They've now lost five consecutive games for the first time in three seasons.

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