Boston 105, Miami 95
When: 6:00 PM ET, Sunday, December 18, 2016
Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami
MIAMI – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by Sports XChange) – The bandage on Avery Bradley’s nose only told part of the story. Bradley, the Boston Celtics shooting guard who scored 20 points, said he was “dazed” by a shot he took from someone’s “head, elbow, something.” But he wasn’t the only one to take punishment. Boston’s 105-95 win over the Miami Heat on Sunday night at AmericanAirlines Arena was so physical that it will take a bit to detail the combatants.
The list starts with Isaiah Thomas, who led the Celtics with 23 points but was ejected with 3:02 left in the fourth quarter. Thomas, who had the ball and was trying to clear space, swung an elbow that bloodied Miami’s Justise Winslow just under his right eye.
“I’ve seen (Thomas) make that swing-through move before where he shows the ball and swings high,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “(Thomas) didn’t want to hurt (Winslow).But if you make contact, there’s going to be a call.”
Thomas said he had no ill intent.
“It was a basketball move that I do every game — it just happened to connect,” he said. “I don’t mess with no elbows. I’m far from a dirty player. It (stinks) the NBA makes those types of calls.
“I’m happy we won, but I’m disappointed I got kicked out. There was no reason for that.”
Winslow agreed that the hit was unintentional, but he also thought the teams have some bitter feelings from past games.
“Some of this carried over from the last game of last season,” Winslow said. “That’s what happens in the heat of the moment, people competing.”
Just before getting elbowed, Winslow said he was talking trash to Thomas.
“When I closed out (Thomas), I actually said, ‘I’m not letting you shoot or drive the ball,'” Winslow said. “(Thomas) just swung through. It wasn’t excessive. He didn’t mean to hurt me. It was a basketball play.
“I said things. They said things. But no one is out there trying to hurt nobody.”
Also on Sunday, Miami’s Hassan Whiteside elbowed Boston’s Kelly Olynyk in the jaw, and Winslow hit Marcus Smart with a knee to the groin. Flagrant fouls were called on both plays. As for Whiteside, this was not the first time he was overly physical with Olynyk. On March 9, 2015, Whiteside was ejected after he drove his forearm into Olynyk’ neck. Aside from all the carnage, Miami, which trailed by as many as 22 points in the second quarter, cut its deficit to four points on a Tyler Johnson free throw with 1:29 left in the game. But Boston’s Al Horford, who had 11 fourth-quarter points, made a three-point play on a drive to the basket, taking advantage of his six-inch height advantage on Johnson.
Horford then hit an 18-foot jumper to lead the Celtics (15-12) to their second straight win. Horford finished with 17 points.