Miami win one at home
MIAMI (AP) – Luol Deng scored 23 points, James Ennis scored ten of his 16 in the fourth quarter and the Miami Heat ended a five-game home losing streak with a 100-84 victory over the Boston Celtics tonight.
Norris Cole scored 15 and Mario Chalmers had 11 points and ten assists for Miami.
Tyler Zeller scored 22 for Boston, which had won three straight. Jeff Green and Kelly Olynyk added 13.
It was the first time in 154 games that Miami didn’t have any of their former Big Three – Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh or LeBron James. Wade sat with a bruised right knee, Bosh missed his fifth straight game with a left calf strain and James now plays for Cleveland, which visit Miami on Christmas.
Boston got the game’s first basket, and never led again. Miami scored the next nine points, led by ten at the half and after Boston got within five early in the third, the Heat went on a 9-0 run to rebuild a 65-51 lead.
Boston were within eight with 5:54minutes left, but Ennis took care of that with a three-pointer, then a follow slam on the next Miami possession and the Heat maintained control the rest of the way.
Rookie Marcus Smart got his first start at point guard for Boston, still adjusting to life after the trade that sent Rajon Rondo to Dallas and brought Jameer Nelson, Brandan Wright and Jae Crowder to the Celtics.
Not only did all three Celtics newcomers play, but there were times when they were on the court together.
“We’re all guessing a little bit, especially with the new guys. … This is a little bit of an exploratory time for us,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “We don’t get the chance to do that during practice. We have to do that during games.”
The lineup with Smart – who finished with three points and four assists – was Boston’s fifth of the season.
That’s paltry by Miami standards. Wade being out led to yet another new Miami lineup, their fourth straight, ninth in December alone and 13th of the season.