Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, left, looks to pass while pressured by Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro (14) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 31, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Miami Heat Looking to Bounce Back After Blowout Loss

The Boston Celtics managed to extinguish the Miami Heat offense on Monday night in a 122-92 waxing. The Celtics improved to two games over the .500 mark for the first time in almost two months. Miami was without three of their starters, giving the Celtics an advantage and they put that advantage to good use.  The Celtics are now in the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.

What The Heat were Missing

Jimmy Butler and PJ Tucker were out with an ankle injury and a knee injury, respectively. Butler is averaging 22 points this season, while Tucker averages 8.6 points and 5.4 rebounds. Kyle Lowry was also out; he hasn’t played since January 15 due to personal reasons. The shorthanded Heat only had 10 available players on Monday.

The Heat Warmed Up and Cooled Down

With three players out, including their best player, Tyler Herro was expected to take off. But Herro scored just 13 points on 5 of 18 shooting and it just wasn’t enough to slow down the Celtics. Meanwhile, Bam Adebayo seemed to lack aggression, only taking 11 field goal attempts but Max Strus, a former Celtic, put up 27 points, shooting 9 of-17 on three-point attempts.

Leaders for the Celtics

Jaylen Brown put up 29 points while Jayson Tatum added 20 points and 12 rebounds.  Marcus Smart added 16 points and seven assists and had five assists with a pair of 3s in the first quarter to get a hot start. The point guard has played the best he has all season since returning from NBA health protocols.

Tatum and Smart sat out the entire last quarter as the Celtics built a 94-70 lead. The win gave the Celtics their fourth win in the past five games.

Coming off a triple-overtime game against the Raptors on Saturday night, the Celtics needed this massive win. Outside of an ugly second quarter where the Heat had an 8-0 run, Boston took advantage of the given circumstances to take down the number one seed in the Eastern Conference.

Moving Forward to Toronto

The Heat (32-19) will play at the Toronto Raptors (25-23) on Tuesday night February 1 for the third time this season. The Raptors won the last matchup on January 30 124-120. The Heat are averaging 109.4 points per game compared to the Raptors’ 106.1 points per game.

For the Raptors, Khem Birch will be out with a nose injury, and Goran Dragic will be out for personal reasons. The Heat hope to get some players back but still look to be shorthanded for this contest as well.

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