Wednesday, January 26 2022

For the second straight night, it was the Celtics defense that proved to be the difference in their 95-78 win over Miami.

The Heat had only been held below 100 points once on the year, and Boston was able to hold them below 80. The Celtics gained their separation in the second quarter by winning the period 33-9 to head into halftime with a 16-point lead.

Jaylen Brown once again led the way offensively before exiting the game late with a hamstring injury. Brown finished with a team-high 17 points, while the Celtics struggled as a team from the field.

The Celtics bench proved to be the difference, as Aaron Nesmith finally showed his NBA Summer League form after getting another shot. The Vanderbilt product had been out of the rotation in the previous four contests, but that didn’t stop him from igniting the second-quarter run and going 3-5 from three to finish with 13 points.

Dennis Schroder and Romeo Langford combined for 26 points off the pine, while Miami’s bench managed just 20 total points.

The second half saw the Celtics in cruise control, with the only worrisome moment coming when Brown exited the game and did not return.

The Celtics improved to 4-5 with the win, and have now won back-to-back games for the second time this season. Up next for Boston is a visit to Dallas on Saturday.

Here is a look at how the Celtics performed on an individual level in the win:

Jayson Tatum

Nov 4, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) shoots the ball over Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) during the second half at FTX Arena. Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

For the second straight night, it was a struggle from the field for the Celtics superstar. Tatum went 3-13 from the field, but did add 8 rebounds while being a big part of the Celtics defensive success.

It should only be a matter of time before the Duke product gets back to his standard offensive efficiency.

Al Horford

Nov 4, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) dunks the ball against the Miami Heat during the second half at FTX Arena. Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

While Horford only went 3-9 from the field, he once again anchored a dominant defensive performance.

The Celtics big led the team with a pair of blocks on the evening.

Robert Williams III

Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III watches his pass during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, April 7, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Williams took only three shots, but pulled down a game-high ten rebounds with five of those coming on the offensive end.

The Texas A&M product also added a pair of steals.

Marcus Smart

Nov 4, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry (7) shoots the ball over Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) during the second half at FTX Arena. Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

It was yet another solid defensive effort from Smart, who contributed to holding Miami to just 9-41 (22%) from three-point range.

The Celtics guard went only 2-6 from the field and 1-5 from distance.

Jaylen Brown

Nov 4, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) shoots over Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) during the second half at FTX Arena. Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

While an auspicious start was hampered by the hamstring injury late, Brown led the Celtics offensively for the second-straight night.

He finished as a +12, the highest mark for any of Boston’s starters.

Aaron Nesmith

Oct 15, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics forward Aaron Nesmith (26) drives the ball around Miami Heat guard Max Strus (31) during the second half at FTX Arena. Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

All of the positives we saw from Nesmith this summer came to fruition on Thursday.

The Vanderbilt product played for the first time in five games, and immediately delivered for Boston. With Josh Richardson out, Nesmith stepped in to deliver three made threes and 13 points off the bench.

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Source: Yahoo Sports

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