MIAMI (AP) — Goran Dragic scored 27 points, Dion Waiters had 26 with a pair of big 3-pointers in the final minutes and the Miami Heat held on to beat Boston 104-98 on Wednesday night, snapping the Celtics’ 16-game winning streak.
Tyler Johnson scored 16 points for Miami, which saw what was an 18-point lead cut to one in the final moments. The Heat shot 49 percent and outrebounded the Celtics 48-37. Kyrie Irving scored 23 points for Boston. Jayson Tatum added 18, and Jaylen Brown and Marcus Morris each had 14.
The Celtics got down by 18 in the first half, which has been a very comfortable place for Boston so far this season. Boston had overcome 18-point deficits against Oklahoma City and Charlotte, a 17-point hole against Golden State, a 16-pointer against Atlanta and rallied from 13 down to win in Dallas this week.
They almost did it again.
Down by 14 midway through the fourth, the unflappable Celtics went on a 13-0 run in just about three minutes — getting to 91-90 when Smart made one of two free throws with 3:14 remaining.
Waiters decided that was close enough. His 3-pointer from the left wing bounced off the rim, then the top of the backboard, before falling to end Miami’s scoreless drought.
Waiters added another 3-pointer over Al Horford to make the lead seven, Hassan Whiteside had a big tip-in with 1:10 left and Miami would hang on from there.
Celtics: Aron Baynes started for Morris, who wanted to test his problematic knee. Morris played 21 minutes off the bench. … Boston turned Miami’s first eight turnovers into exactly zero points. The Celtics wound up getting nine points off 16 Miami giveaways. … Shane Larkin was shaken up briefly after taking a hard foul near the rim by Miami’s Kelly Olynyk early in the fourth.
Heat: Olynyk tried to shoot one over the backboard with 7:26 left after being forced to the baseline on a dribble. The shot wasn’t close. … A weird quirk: The Heat have played on all six Wednesdays so far this season — and play on the next four as well. They won’t get a Wednesday off until Dec. 27. … The Miami Hurricanes, the No. 2 team in both the AP Top 25 and the College Football Playoff rankings, were at the game.
The 16-game winning streak ended tied for the fourth-longest in Celtics history. Boston won 19 in a row in the 2008-09 season, 18 straight in 1981-82 and 17 straight in 1959-60. The other 16-game run was in 1964-65. In NBA history, 21 streaks have lasted longer than 16 games.
WIN THE THIRD
Miami won the third quarter 25-22, which doesn’t sound like much — but was significant to the Heat. That three-point margin, somewhat unbelievably, is their fourth-best in a third quarter this season. Miami had been outscored 60-29 in its last two third quarters before Wednesday.
Celtics: Host Orlando on Friday night.
Heat: Visit Minnesota on Friday night.
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