The Boston Celtics rallied from double-digit deficits for victories in the last three contests to keep their impressive winning streak alive and can extend it to 17 games when they visit the scuffling Miami Heat on Wednesday night. Boston trailed by 13 with less than eight minutes to go Monday before storming back for a 110-102 overtime victory at Dallas as Kyrie Irving scored a season-high 47 points.
“For us it’s just about battling back when teams get a comfortable rhythm, whether it’d be in the first half or the second half,” Irving told reporters. “As a group we continue just to stick together throughout anything and everything.” The Celtics can tie the third-longest streak (1959-60) in franchise history with a win and hope for a similar effort as Oct. 28 when they took care of the Heat 96-90 in Miami with a game-high 24 points from Irving. Miami has dropped three of its last four after a crushing 120-95 defeat at home against Indiana on Sunday in which they allowed 60 percent shooting from the field. “It’s not physical. It’s mental for us,” Heat forward Udonis Haslem told the Miami Herald. “We’ve got to be able to sustain intensity and focus for 48 minutes understanding that even though the game of basketball is emotional, and it goes up and down, we still have to stay even throughout the course of the game.”
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN Boston, FSN Sun (Miami)
ABOUT THE CELTICS (16-2): Irving is averaging 22.5 points and 5.3 assists overall after scoring 77 combined in the last two contests while draining 10-of-13 from beyond the arc. “He’s got every move imaginable, but on top of that he’s one of the best shooters in the league,” coach Brad Stevens told the Boston Herald. “Everybody gets caught up in the moves and dribbling and everything he can do the ball, but his touch is beautiful with both hands.” Jaylen Brown is averaging 23.7 points over the last three games to push his season mark to 16.2 while making 10-of-20 from 3-point range.
ABOUT THE HEAT (7-9): Leading scorer Goran Dragic (18.3 points, 4.7 assists) is averaging just seven over the past two games while missing 13 of 19 shots from the field while backcourt mate Dion Waiters (15.1 points) is coming off a 0-for-10 shooting peformance. Center Hassan Whiteside continues to put up big numbers (16.2 points, 13.5 rebounds, 1.8 blocks) and forward James Johnson is the fourth player averaging in double figures (12.3). Starting guard Josh Richardson is considered day-to-day with an eye injury after getting poked Sunday and leaving the contest with 15 points.
1. The Celtics have won eight straight meetings, including the last three by a combined 13 points.
2. Boston’s rookie F Jayson Tatum, who is averaging 13.9 points, has scored in double figures 15 times in his first 18 NBA games.
3. Miami C/F and former Celtic Kelly Olynyk is scoring 6.7 per game in November after averaging 12.5 during October.
PREDICTION: Celtics 106, Heat 96