BOSTON -- The Celtics-Heat rivalry has picked up right where it left off.
In their first meeting since Game 7 of the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals, Boston and Miami duked it out in a seesaw affair at TD Garden, with the Celtics pulling away late to secure a 119-111 win in their 2023-24 home opener.
All five Celtics starters reached double figures in a game that featured six tie scores and six lead changes. Derrick White (a game-high 28 points), Jaylen Brown (27) and Jayson Tatum (22) each eclipsed the 20-point mark, while Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday chipped in 17 apiece. Miami's Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo combined for 55 points (28 and 27, respectively), but the Celtics limited the Heat role players enough to improve to 2-0 on the young season.
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The Celtics will be back in action Monday night in Washington against the Wizards. First, let's get to our takeaways from Friday's victory at the Garden.
Derrick White does it all
White has a knack for making clutch plays against Miami.
The hero of Game 6 of the 2023 East Finals stepped up again Friday night, carrying the scoring load for Boston and going on a personal 8-0 run early in the fourth quarter to help the Celtics take a six-point lead. He hit three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter alone to score 14 of Boston's 32 fourth-quarter points and help seal the victory.
White also made an impact defensively with two incredible chase-down blocks of Jimmy Butler -- one in the first quarter and another in the fourth with the game in the balance.
White's final stat line: 28 points, six rebounds, three assists, one steal and three blocks. Not bad for a guy who didn't make ESPN's Top 100 players list.
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Jaylen Brown gets redemption
After Brown's rough Game 1 against the New York Knicks, Tatum was confident his All-Star teammate would turn things around Friday night. He was right.
Brown's night wasn't perfect, as he started 1-for-5 from the floor and committed a team-high four turnovers. But the eighth-year wing looked much more aggressive in this one, attacking the basket to score 18 of his 27 points inside the arc. He was also active defensively and racked up a team-high three steals, including this swipe of an inbound pass near the end of the first half:
Brown stepped up when it counted, as well, scoring 12 points in the fourth quarter with several big buckets late. He and White combined for all but six of Boston's fourth-quarter points.
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Brissett provides a much-needed boost
The Celtics looked a bit sluggish early in the first quarter. Oshae Brissett changed that in a hurry.
The backup wing was a spark plug off the bench in his first game action for the Celtics, immediately grabbing a pair of offensive rebounds as part of a 10-0 run in the first quarter that helped erase an early 13-point Heat lead. His first bucket in a C's uniform was an emphatic slam off a nice baseline cut.
Brissett isn't much of an offensive threat, but his hustle on both ends of the floor was exactly what the Celtics needed against a hard-playing Heat team. Whenever the energy level of Boston's top six is lagging, expect Joe Mazzulla to inject Brissett into the lineup for an added spark, similar to what Aaron Nesmith provided the C's during his two seasons in Boston.
Bench production still lacking
Other than Brissett's hustle plays, the Celtics didn't get much outside their starting five for the second straight game.
Boston's reserve players combined for just eight points on 3 of 11 shooting. Al Horford was 0 for 6 in 25 minutes of play, while Payton Pritchard and Sam Hauser (three points each) provided the only bench scoring outside Brissett's dunk.
Miami's bench wasn't exactly stellar (20 total points), but Duncan Robinson and Dru Smith still contributed nine points apiece to help keep the game close when the Heat starters rested.
The Celtics may have an elite top five -- the group combined for a whopping 111 points Friday night -- but they'll need much more out of their reserves going forward to limit the wear and tear on their starters.