( WATCH VIDEO): Highlight of an incredible display by Derrick White and Brown against Miami…

IN A NUTSHELL

Boston came out cold from the field, shooting 5-13 from the restricted area in the first quarter, but second-chance points helped keep them alive, thanks in part to Oshae Brissett. Boston picked it up in the second quarter but Miami got hot from deep to hold on to their lead. Then Jayson Tatum started attacking the basket and Jaylen Brown turned up the defense to give Boston a five-point halftime lead. Miami stayed hot but the teams went back and forth in the third and the game was tied early in the fourth. But then Derrick White took over. Sprinkle in some tough Tatum and Brown buckets and the Celtics held Miami off for the win.

Box Score

HEADLINES

Great finish: They came into the fourth quarter down one, Tatum only scored three fourth-quarter points, and Kristaps Porzingis fouled out, but the Celtics won the quarter by nine.

They rode White and Brown offensively as they alone combined to outscore Miami 26-23. The defense held the Heat to 21% shooting, just two offensive rebounds, and two points in the paint.

We’re only two games into the season, but the Celtics have closed out two games down the stretch against tough competition.

“I think we’ve grown,” Brown said. “We got a lot of players that can make poised decisions down the line and we just got to continue to keep that up. I think, you know, it’s only two games in and we still got a lot of work to do and so I’m looking forward to doing that.”

Variety of ways to win: Porzingis and Tatum combined to close out the Knicks. Brown and White handled the Heat. The more this happens early in the season, the harder it will be to defend the Celtics later in the season because there just isn’t a formula for shutting them down.

Still work to do: Just like Brown said, neither of the first two games was close to perfect, so there’s obviously a lot to work on. But as we all like to say, it’s better to get that work in to correct the mistakes after a win than after a loss. They’ve won two very imperfect games in two very different ways. That’s pretty encouraging.

TURNING POINT

I was going to pick one of the fourth-quarter moments but after the game, I was talked into Brissett’s first-quarter stint as the actual turning point.

“He was the sole reason that we got back into the game, and I told him that,” Tatum said after the win. “He came right in, and we were kind of flat, his energy, his offensive rebounding, giving us second and third chance opportunities was big. And that’s his job. For him to come do that, to not play last game and come in today and give us the spark to turn the game around was huge.”

THINGS I LIKED

– Offensive rebounding: Boston won the second chance points battle 23-16. They crashed hard all game and they ended up winning the field goal attempts battle by six even though they had three more turnovers than Miami. That’s hard to do, but crashing the offensive boards made it happen.

– 95 field goal attempts! This is where Boston should be almost every night. They need to play with a good pace, grab offensive rebounds, and force turnovers regularly. This is their best chance to keep everyone happy.

– Fourth quarter execution: I’m most impressed that they stood tall in the face of adversity. Miami made their pushes and Boston held them back at every turn.

It was a seven-point game with 1:35 to go and Tatum missed a 3-pointer. I turned to a fellow reporter on press row and said “this is going to get interesting,” just as Tyler Herro and Kevin Love hit 3-pointers. Then what looked like a tough turnover by White was actually a foul against Jimmy Butler that was upheld on review. White buried the free throws and Brown iced it with a 3.

For the second game in a row, we’re talking about a win that we all feel like would have gone the other way last season.

– Jrue Holiday: Lost in all the hoopla is a simple midrange jumper that made it a six-point game in between those Herro and Love treys. That was a huge basket because Love’s shot made it a three-point game and not a one-point game. The dynamics change a lot if that shot doesn’t fall.

Also, he did this:

 

 

The Celtics might have the two best shot-blocking guards in the league.

Derrick White: 28 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks, 1 steal. I’ll save the rest of DWhite’s story for a separate piece.

Jimmy Butler kept in check: This assignment fell on Tatum for a lot of the game, but the Celtics were able to hold him to 3-11 shooting and just 14 points. He never emerged down the stretch or threatened to take over.

THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE

– Bench production: This will have to change at some point. Boston scored 119 points and 111 came from their starters. I know Al Horford is not a scorer necessarily, but with six guys as good as Boston has, the one who goes to the bench needs to lead that second unit.

This is all a work in progress, so right now it’s still something they need to “clean up.” But it’s definitely something that needs to change.

– Too many minutes: The lack of bench scoring led to another big minute night for Tatum (41:26). And look, I get it, he’s a young stud who can play forever, but also let’s not run him into the ground now. Boston needs the bench to be more playable, or they’ll need to go find someone who is.

– Another 3-point barrage: Miami shot 48.5% against

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