By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Boston Celtics got big-time contributions from two top offensive options in a hard-earned 112-102 win Wednesday night over the Miami Heat, who battled to the end as they cling to their playoff lives. But it wasn't enough to overcome Gordon Hayward and Jayson Tatum, who combined for 41 points in the win.
Hayward scored 25 in 32 minutes off the bench, including 3-for-5 from three-point range and 12-for-13 at the free-throw line. He added 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and a blocked shot in one of his best all-around performances of the season.
Here are some key postgame thoughts from a good win for the C's, who kept pace with Indiana as the race for the No. 4 seed in the NBA playoffs hits the final stretch.
-- Tatum, Hayward take over in the fourth. Hayward (11 points) and Tatum (9 points) combined to score 20 in a dominant fourth-quarter performance that put the game out of reach late for the Celtics. Leading just 83-81 going into the final frame, the Celtics had the two best offensive players on the court to close things out in a playoff-like atmosphere.
-- Kyrie facilitates fourth. Kyrie Irving scored just one point in the final quarter, but notched two assists in the final eight minutes as teammates Hayward and Tatum went off. Irving finished second on the team in scoring with 23 points.
-- Horford dominates again. What can't go unnoticed is another excellent all-around game for Al Horford, who scored 21 points on 10-for-16 from the field (62.5 percent) and added 8 rebounds, a steal and a blocked shot to his line. Horford finished with a plus-14 rating too in a typically well-rounded game for the veteran big man.
-- Hassan Whiteside hard to contain. In just 21 minutes off the bench, Whiteside scored 18 points and 15 rebounds as he pushed the pace whenever on the floor. He continued to make plays well into the fourth quarter to help keep the game close for Miami.
-- Dwyane Wade scores 17 in likely final game vs. Celtics. Wade shot just 5-for-13 from the field (38.5 percent) but battled his way to 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists in a solid performance for the tenacious Heat. It's probably the last hurrah with the Celtics for the retiring Wade, a controversial player in his history against them.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].