Mar 19, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo (9) shoots the ball as Miami Heat point guard Norris Cole (30) defends during the second quarter at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Heat At Celtics Final Score: Defense Falters; Heat Lose 101-96

The Heat fall to the Celtics 101-96, on the second night of a back-to-back. The loss drops the Heat record to 46-20 on the season.

For the Heat, Dwyane Wade finished with a team-high 17 points. Chris Andersen added 16 points and eight rebounds off the bench. Udonis Haslem and Ray Allen each scored 14.

For the Celtics, Avery Bradley scored a game-high 23 points. Brandon Bass added 18 points. Jared Sullinger scored 14 off the bench.

Without LeBron James, who missed the game with back spasms, the Heat looked like they weren’t going to miss a beat in the first half. They tallied 34 points and jumped out to a 12-point lead after the first quarter, and finished the first half with 59 points, but their lead was chopped down to only six (59-53). But as has been the Heat’s issue all season long, they fell asleep on defense and became stagnant on offense. They allowed the Celtics to hit 13 three pointers, and shoot 50% from the field. Those numbers helped the Celtics take a two point lead into the fourth quarter (80-78), and hold on in the final period for the win. The Heat only managed 37 points in the second half, and that sealed their fate.

If there was one takeaway from tonight’s game, it was the play of Haslem early that took almost everyone by surprise. Haslem’s playing time of late has been sporadic at best, but being the professional that he’s always been, he came ready to play and it showed. If his knees are good, he will be a valuable asset in the playoffs.

The Heat’s next game is Friday, as they return to AmericanAirlines Arena to take on the Memphis Grizzlies (40-27). The tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 pm.

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