MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – It may not have been the way that they would’ve drawn it up but the Miami Heat finally got a win a home on Sunday.
Finding out shortly before the game that Dwyane Wade would be sitting out with a bruised right knee could have sent the reeling Heat into an even bigger tailspin.
Instead, it proved inspiring.
And the team’s five-game home slide is over.
Luol Deng scored 23 points, James Ennis scored 10 of his 16 in the fourth quarter and the Heat topped the Boston Celtics 100-84 on Sunday night.
“We needed a home win bad,” said guard Mario Chalmers, who had 11 points and 10 assists. “Everybody stepped up. I think we had six people in double-digits tonight. That’s what we need from everybody, each and every game.”
Norris Cole scored 15 for Miami, which was without anyone from its former Big Three – Wade, Chris Bosh or LeBron James – for the first time in 154 games. Bosh missed his fifth straight game with a left calf strain and James now plays for Cleveland, which visits Miami on Christmas.
Tyler Zeller scored 22 for Boston, which had won three straight. Jeff Green and Kelly Olynyk added 13.
“They made a lot of big shots – kind of deflating shots,” Zeller said. “We did a good job trying to push back. We just have to get over that hump and tie the game or (go) ahead.”
Boston got the game’s first basket, and never led again. Miami scored the next nine points, led by 10 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 was within eight with 5:54 left, but Ennis took care of that with a 3-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, which is 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, its fourth straight, ninth in December alone and 13th of the season.
“Now it’s like, `This is what it is, this is what our season is,'” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Let’s focus on the guys who are available and not feel sorry for ourselves. I like seeing that our guys are coming together.”
Celtics: Stevens said that as many as 11 Celtics are meriting consideration for starting jobs. “We can’t let our depth … become a detriment,” Stevens said. … Boston was bidding for its first four-game winning streak since November 2013. … Smart’s potentially in good company, since other rookies to start at the point for Boston include Rondo, Chauncey Billups, Brian Shaw and Dee Brown.
Heat: F Udonis Haslem made his first three shots, giving him nine straight makes over a three-game span. He was shooting 35 percent before that stretch. … Bosh hopes to play on Christmas, though remains listed as day-to-day. … C Justin Hamilton missed the second half with a headache, and fellow backup C Hassan Whiteside didn’t play after losing two toenails after Friday’s game against Washington.
Ennis’ season high in scoring entering Sunday was 10 points – and he had that many in a 6-minute stretch of the fourth quarter.
Zeller continued his strong run of late, matching a career high with 10 field goals (on 15 attempts). It was the second time this month he made 10 shots, also doing so against the Lakers on Dec. 5.
Celtics: At Orlando on Tuesday.
Heat: Host Philadelphia on Tuesday.
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