THE NITTY GRITTY
It won't top the early-season thriller in Miami with Jeff Green's last-second heroics, but the Boston Celtics added another win over the Heat to the pages of their 2013-14 scrapbook. Rajon Rondo barely missed a triple-double while putting up 9 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds, but dominated the final two minutes of the game. Avery Bradley added a team-high 23 points while making a career-best six 3-pointers over 40:30. Dwyane Wade paced LeBron James-less Miami with 17 points, while Chris Andersen utilized a fourth-quarter scoring burst to add 16 points.
The Celtics were clinging to a three-point lead with little more than two minutes to go when Rondo wrestled a rebound away from Udonis Haslem, forcing a jump ball near the Miami basket. Rondo, despite the height difference, won the tip then delivered a little running bank shot at the other end to put Boston up five. After the Heat made it a one-possession game again, Rondo worked down the shot clock and hit another running floater in the final moments to essentially seal the win.
The Celtics stuck with a 10-man rotation. Chris Babb and Joel Anthony were healthy DNPs. ... Jared Sullinger added 14 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists off the bench over 31 minutes and was plus-11 overall (second best behind Bradley at plus-12). ... The Heat dominated points in the paint 50-20. ... The Celtics compensated by going 13-of-28 beyond the 3-point arc (46.4 percent) and shot 50.6 percent from the floor overall.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics (23-46) snapped a four-game losing streak and claimed the season series (2-1) over the Heat. Those interested in pingpong balls won't love the result, but Celtics players and coaches were desperate for a win after dropping some close calls in recent games. Boston's late-game execution was excellent, spearheaded by Rondo at the end. Boston visits Brooklyn Friday before a four-day break.