Celtics burn Heat in home opener, Boston grabs 119-111 victory over Miami

The Boston Celtics defeated the Miami Heat Friday night, grabbing a 119-111 victory. This was the first Celtics regular season home game for newcomers Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis. The duo combined for 34 points and 19 rebounds on the evening, helping Boston secure a win.

Friday was also Boston’s first home game of the year, and a rematch of a 2023 Eastern Conference Finals that saw Boston fall in seven games to the Heat, missing out on a chance to raise an 18th banner. Tonight, many of the same themes from last spring emerged. Boston was often careless with the ball, coughing up 15 turnovers on the night. And on the other side of the action, Miami was patient and efficient on offense for much of the night, although this wanned as Boston tightened the clamps down the stretch.

Indeed, with the game on the line, Boston dug deep. The Celtics outscored the Heat 32-23 in the fourth, securing a gutsy win in the process. Let’s take a closer look at what went down during Boston’s xx at home against Miami Friday evening.

Before the game

Prior to the game, the Celtics held a moment of silence to honor the victims of the mass shooting that left at least 18 people dead in Lewiston, Maine this week. The PA address before tip extended thoughts and prayers to the Lewiston community and the entire state of Maine.

The team also issued a press release before the game, saying “Our hearts ache as we reckon with the devastating shootings in Lewiston. We mourn with everyone in our Maine family experiencing the agonizing loss of this tragedy.”

The Maine Celtics have been a G-League affiliate for Boston since 2009, and on Friday night Celtics players wore Maine Celtics warmups. The team’s game jerseys featured a black decal that said “Maine.”

Boston's offense

Boston’s has the chance to be a very special offense with this roster this year, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be growing pains especially early in the season. Old habits die hard, as they say, and the home team had 9 turnovers in the first half alone.

Hustle plays kept the Celtics afloat when things were a little clunky scoring the ball. In stretches, though, Boston played very beautiful offense, especially to close the first half and down the stretch in the fourth.

In total, Boston logged 20 assists, including 7 dimes from Holiday. The Celtics also ended the game shooting 41.7% from 3 as a team. It was a bit streaky, but the home team’s scoring effort was enough to overcome a stingy Heat defense.





Boston's defense

Tatum served as the home team’s starting power forward, meaning Boston sacrificed size for speed in the frontcourt. Miami made a point to stress this trade-off early, attacking inside often. This often left Porzingis on an island, something Bam Adebyao and the Heat were able to exploit, and Porzingis fouled out with over 3 minutes to play in regulation.

Apropos of this dynamic, Boston was effective down low on both ends. The Celtics logged 55 rebounds, including and 16 offensive board. Porzingis may have been over-extended on defense, the rest of the team dictated the terms of engagement on the glass.

Boston was also quite handsy on defense overall, and this physical approach was quite effective. Miami had stretches where they shot the ball very well, but that was largely despite a strong showing from the Celtics.

Final thoughts

It’s important to not overreact to action in October. Perhaps tonight helps avenge a frustrating postseason exit last year, but this Celtics team has bigger goals in mind.

All the same, it was exciting to see basketball return to the TD Garden. Paul Pierce was in attendance, beckoning the crowd to a roar during a key stretch in the fourth quarter, and the buzz in the building was steady all evening long.

Still, for Celtics fans, this is undoubtably a frustrating outcome. Boston will need to wait until January 25 for a game down in Miami to exact revenge, to say nothing of the postseason.

Capitalizing on that home cooking will have to wait for Boston, however. The Celtics play four of their next five games away from home, including a matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers on the road on November 8.

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Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire