Reaction: Heat lose to Celtics again, fall to 9th

Jacari McRae | April 4th, 2019

Here are my four takeaways from Wednesday’s 112-102 loss to the Boston Celtics.

Playoff race

Once again, the outside results were favorable for the Heat. The Blake Griffin-less Detriot Pistons lost at home to the Indiana Pacers. The Brooklyn Nets also lost at home to the Toronto Raptors. But the Orlando Magic defeated the New York Knicks at home, moving the Heat down to the ninth spot.

There are four games remaining in the regular season, and possibly Wade’s final games of his career.

Heat mostly healthy….but briefly

Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, and Rodney McGruder returned to the Heat’s rotation on Wednesday. Richardson replaced the sidelined Derrick Jones Jr in the starting lineup. Winslow, however, came off the bench, with Goran Dragic remaining the starting point guard.

But then, midway in the third period, Josh Richardson went to the locker room with a leg injury. His night ended with seven points, two rebounds, and one assist in 16 minutes. With Richardson out, James Johnson got his first action of the night at the start of the fourth quarter.

Too much zone?

For the majority of the game, the Heat used the zone as their primary defense. After playing the Heat in consecutive games, the Celtics were clearly prepared for it. Each time the Heat went with the zone, the Celtics took advantage. They also found success by attacking the middle of the floor, where the Heat’s zone would frequently leave someone open.

What Wednesday’s game showed is that when facing a team in a playoff series, they likely won’t be surprised whenever the Heat go zone. In a seven game series, it’s easier to figure out a team than playing them randomly during the regular season.

Whiteside’s activity 

The Heat’s bright spot on Wednesday night was Hassan Whiteside. The Heat’s backup center finished the night with 18 points on 9-of-11 shooting and 15 rebounds, often taking advantage of second-chance opportunities. Whiteside made a few buckets to close the third period to pull the Heat within two.

He did, however, miss all four of his attempts at the free throw line.

Next Game: Heat at Timberwolves tomorrow night. Game tips off at 8pm ET.

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