Dwyane Wade had a couple of offensive outbursts Monday night that reminded us of why they call him Flash. He also had a few other moments he would like to have back.
Despite putting up his first 30-point game of the season and rallying his team a couple times from second-half, double-digit deficits, Wade couldn’t push the Heat past the Celtics.
Boston, the league leader in steals, used 15 steals, 18 Heat turnovers and 25 points from Avery Bradley to upend Miami 105-95 at AmericanAirlines Arena. It was only the Heat’s third loss this season through its first 11 home games.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
“It wasn’t the offensive end,” Wade said. “We could score enough. When Chris [Bosh] is going, I’m going, we can score enough. We just weren’t getting enough stops.
“We came in as the No. 1 defensive team. They were the No. 3 defensive team. We didn’t look like the No. 1 defensive team for the whole game.”
Bosh, who finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds, scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter and pulled the Heat (10-6) to within one point of Boston at 84-83. The Celtics (10-8) then went on a 10-0 run before Wade returned from the bench and went on a personal 6-0 run. Wade then found Bosh for a layup with 2:02 to remaining to trim Boston’s lead to 96-93.
But in the end, there were too many turnovers, too many missed three-pointers (Miami finished 5 of 17) and too many failed isolation plays down the stretch for the Heat to complete the comeback.
The Celtics, who lost Sunday in Orlando, were on the second night of a back-to-back but played with more energy than the Heat from the onset, Wade said.
Coming into Monday’s game, the Heat had held opponents to under 40 percent shooting from the field in five of its past seven games and just 31.3 percent (105 of 335) from three-point range (fourth in the league entering the day). The Celtics shot 47.5 percent and made eight of their 20 three-point attempts.
“We just need more time to develop the trust, to move the ball and have trust in the pass,” coach Erik Spoelstra said of the late-game offensive struggles. “Those things we can get better at. But the overall competitiveness of the game, there were stretches where we competed at a high level. But most of the stretches they competed at a higher level than what we were doing.”
Heat center Hassan Whiteside, who scored only six points on 1-of-6 shooting Friday in a win over the Knicks, got into early foul trouble and finished with only six points, eight rebounds and three blocks in nearly 26 minutes of play. He didn’t score his first basket Monday until there was 3:24 left in the third quarter.
Whiteside said his recent lack of involvement on offense “really isn’t an issue [because] other guys are scoring.”
Wade said the Celtics did a good job pushing Whiteside out of the paint by having their frontcourt players sit on the perimeter and hit shots.
“It’s something I’ve had to deal with my whole life,” Whiteside said. “You see the scouting report and how many blocks I average. Every night teams are going to try their best just to negate that.”
After finishing a game below .500 at AmericanAirlines Arena last season, the Heat came into this season wanting to build an identity again of being a dominant team at home.
Miami’s 8-2 start before Monday was a nice way to open the season, but players said Sunday the schedule this week would be a good litmus test. Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder visit here Thursday, and LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers come in Saturday.
▪ Whiteside said he went to the gym around midnight Sunday night and put up 250 free throws. He came in shooting 63 percent (19 of 30) from the charity stripe over his previous five games. He was 2 of 4 on Monday from the line.
▪ Spoelstra said the Heat could end up sending second-year forward/center Jarnell Stokes back to the NBA’s Developmental League to get playing time at different points throughout the season. Stokes shined in three games, averaging 23 points, 9.7 rebounds and shooting 68.1 percent in three games with the Sioux Falls Skyforce.