Celtics Notes: Heat Stifle C’s Fast Break; Newcomers Quiet In Debuts


December 21, 2014

No Dwyane Wade, no Chris Bosh, no problem.

Even with their two superstars sidelined with injuries, the Miami Heat had no trouble dispatching the new-look Boston Celtics on Sunday night. The Celtics scored the first basket of the game but trailed the rest of the way en route to a 100-84 loss.

The 84 points were the fewest scored by Boston in a game all season.

— The Celtics entered Sunday ranked third in the NBA in fast-break points (17.1 per game), but you’d never know that by watching this game. Boston failed to muster even a single fast-break point in the loss as Miami dictated the pace from start to finish.

?I didn?t think that we kept up with our speed all day,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters after the game. “I thought we looked a step behind all day. Credit them; they were flying off everything. Sometimes when you?re missing kind of a go-to kind of guy like they were in Wade and Bosh, the other guys are flying all over the place. I thought we got hit by that, and I?m not sure that we responded to that the entire night.”

— All three of the players acquired in the Rajon Rondo trade — Jameer Nelson, Brandan Wright and Jae Crowder — made their Celtics debuts, but none made a significant impact. Nelson struggled both finding his shot (1-for-6; 1-for-5 from 3-point range) and communicating with his new teammates — not exactly an unexpected side effect of joining a team mid-season.

[tweet https://twitter.com/ZackCoxNESN/status/546839919935897600 align=’center’]

Wright showed the most encouraging signs of any of the new acquisitions, doing a nice job of creating space with his ability to roll to the rim. He also teamed up with Avery Bradley on this nifty alley-oop:

— The introduction of the three ex-Dallas Mavericks resulted in a sharp drop in minutes for Brandon Bass. The forward played a season-low five minutes and did not see the court at all after the first quarter despite being one of the Celtics’ most effective bench players of late.

— Boston’s backcourt as a whole struggled mightily in the shooting department, with the Celtics’ four guards combining to score just 17 points on 26 shots.

— Turnovers also were an issue, as the Celtics coughed the ball up four times in the first four minutes and 15 times total. As Stevens pointed out after the game, those early ball-control issues can’t be blamed on the new faces.

— Tyler Zeller — arguably the player who benefitted most from Rondo’s presence this season — turned in another solid all-around performance, scoring 22 points (10-of-15 shooting), grabbing eight rebounds and blocking two shots.

— Rookie point guard Marcus Smart was unremarkable in his first NBA start, finishing with three points, four rebounds, four assists, one steal and two turnovers.

— The club of random role players to torch the Celtics this season (Aaron Brooks, Jon Leuer, etc.) added a new member Sunday. Heat rookie James Ennis notched career highs in points (16) and rebounds (eight), and all but sealed Miami’s win with a ferocious put-back dunk late in the fourth.

Thumbnail photo via Robert Mayer/USA TODAY Sports Images

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