The Boston Celtics have added an improbable road win to their phenomenal first half of the season and will attempt to carry some momentum home when they host the Miami Heat on Wednesday night. After blowing a 19-point lead at Indiana on Monday night, the Celtics got a steal and a slam from Terry Rozier in the closing seconds to grab a 112-111 win, their second in a row following a 2-3 stretch.
The dunk capped a 10-4 run in the final 31 seconds as Boston became the first NBA team in 380 tries this season to erase at least a five-point deficit and win in the final 30 seconds of a game, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
“Glad to join history for this season,” guard Kyrie Irving told reporters. “It comes down to that final buzzer and you don’t stop playing until it goes off.”
The Celtics also finished strong in their last meeting with Miami, but a slow start by Boston helped the Heat survive 104-98, evening the season series at a game apiece. That victory kicked off an 8-5 run for Miami but it was slowed down in Monday’s 110-104 loss at Atlanta.
For the Heat (15-15), center Hassan Whiteside (knee) is not on Miami’s two-game road trip, which will extend his absence to 11 games, and guard Goran Dragic missed Monday’s loss due to an elbow injury. With forwards James Johnson (ankle) and Justise Winslow (knee) also out, Miami dressed just nine players, committed 19 turnovers and missed all 11 of its 3-point attempts in the second half.
“We need to be better with the fundamentals, reading schemes and defenses better,” coach Erik Spoelstra told the media. “We’re working at it quite a bit and we just have to get more ownership, more responsibility with the ball.”
For the Celtics (26-7), Rozier’s clutch play overshadowed a big basket moments before by backup point guard Marcus Smart, who made all four of his 3-pointers and was 5-of-6 from the floor en route to 15 points. Irving added 30 points and is averaging 29 while making 15-of-34 3-pointers in four games since sitting out one contest with a quad injury. Forward Al Horford fell an assist shy of a triple-double and is averaging 16.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 7.3 assists in a three-game stretch.
NOTES: Heat C Kelly Olynyk will be making his return to Boston, where he played his first four seasons before signing with Miami this offseason. … Miami SG Dion Waiters had a team-high 23 points in the loss to Atlanta and scored 26 in the win over Boston on Nov. 22. … Celtics F Jayson Tatum is 3-for-3 from beyond the arc in the last two games and continues to lead the NBA from long range (51.5 percent).