The dam was bursting at the seams, yet never gave.
Not when Jeff Green finished with the game of his career. Not when the Boston Celtics hit ten three-pointers. Not even when they finished shooting 54 percent.
Even though the Celtics had amassed as much of a 17-point advantage, it still wasn’t enough to derail the Miami Heat for earning their 23rd consecutive victory via one of the greatest games this year in the NBA.
Boston had led a majority of the way and led 93-83 with nine minutes remaining. That was the juncture where LeBron James was inserted for Shane Battier, as well as the moment where the entire game was given an aneurysm.
James recorded 13 points and 3 assists of his 37 points, 12 assists, and eight rebounds in the fourth quarter, leading the Heat to a historic 105-103 victory and stretching their win streak to 23.
The win streak is now second all-time in NBA history for consecutive wins, but it wouldn’t have occurred without LeBron providing some late-game heroics:
James also scored the game-tying basket after an inbound resulted in him getting a layup.
After Boston scored on a three-pointer by Avery Bradley, who finished 3-of-11, with one minute, 49 seconds remaining, they didn’t score the rest of the night.
Jeff Green led the way for the Celtics with an incredible performance where he tallied 43 points. He was unstoppable throughout the first 36 minutes, and was the source of the Celtics first quarter where they opened up a 31-19 lead after 12.
The lead got up to 41-24 with 9:13 remaining. Miami got it down to six by the half. They would take their first lead two minutes into the second half, but would face a deficit until the final minutes of the game.
LeBron was the only constant for the Heat. In the middle of yet another MVP-solidifying outing, he also had the time to put Jason Terry on a poster so satisfying and so devastating that it may rival DeAndre Jordan’s recent slam on Brandon Knight.
LeBron was supported by 21 points from Mario Chalmers, who covered several bad mistakes with 4-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc.
Dwyane Wade, who has struggled against the Celtics more than any other team, came up with only 17 points on 15 shots, but did contribute seven rebounds and was a reliable playmaker ending up with six assists.
Chris Bosh failed to take advantage of Garnett’s absence, taking only ten shots and recording 13 points. Ray Allen was quiet in his second return to Boston, finishing with six points on six shots and five rebounds.
The Boston Celtics were scripting the narrative to perfection. For over 40 minutes, they were going to play their usual role of spoiler for anything positive relating to the Miami Heat.
Leading by as much as 17 and supported by Jeff Green’s career-high 43 points on 21 shots, the Celtics were going to repeat history by ending the league’s second highest all-time winning streak. They first performed it with a win over the 2007-’08 Houston Rockets that halted their streak at 23.
Five years and, by some miracle of schedule-makers everywhere, the Heat are in the exact same position as the Rockets; same winning streak, same date, same annoying Celtics team.
Boston shouldn’t have garnered that 17-point lead so early. That was the problem. The reason why this Heat winning streak has been so special is because of how they have continued to find ways to win under the most dire of situations.
In case you can’t recollect, the Heat also pulled off a 16-point comeback in their win over the New York Knicks. Like Carmelo Anthony, Jeff Green also cooled down in the fourth quarter.
After having LeBron shoot the game-winner in his face, Green was forced into what should been a turnover thanks to brilliantly played defense by Shane Battier. The initial ruling had the ball staying with Boston, but it went to review. Replays showed it may have appeared to hit off Green, but there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn it.
Green had five points in the final frame, but didn’t score after the nine-minute mark.
Paul Pierce, 17 points on 11 shots, came up short on a three-pointer to end the Celtics haphazard offense that relied a great deal on jumpers. Boston shot 48 percent from the perimeter, five of their ten threes coming from Green alone.
But none of that mattered. Because the Heat have been a part of many games where they were on the wrong end of a role players’ hot stretches.
C.J. Miles. Dion Waiters, Nikola Vucevic, Quincy Pondexter, and Marcus Thornton have all had a career game against the Heat during this stretch, with Green joining them although his effort far exceeded any other Miami opponent.
But they all shared one thing in coming: It wasn’t enough to defeat the Heat.
Miami now moves to 52-14 on the year and prepare to move on to one of the weakest portions of their schedule. They face Cleveland, who will be without Kyrie Irving, Wednesday to conclude the road trip.
They then kick up their heels for home games against Detroit and Charlotte.
A four-game road trip starts after, featuring a game against the San Antonio Spurs.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Soak in and appreciate the history that you’re watching unfold every night.