The Boston Celtics can stretch their home winning streak to 10 games when they meet the Miami Heat on Wednesday night.
Despite being without injured guard Jaylen Brown (neck stiffness) and center Al Horford (back), the Celtics turned in what may have been their best offensive performance of the season when they beat the depleted Charlotte Hornets 140-105 on Monday night.
Charlotte was missing five players because of injuries.
Jayson Tatum scored a game-high 35 points for the Celtics, who received 22 points and a career-high 15 assists from point guard Marcus Smart. Teammate Malcolm Brogdon added 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field in nearly 23 minutes of playing time.
“This is a treat,” Brogdon said. “I think for any NBA player, whether you ask Marcus Smart, Tatum, Brown, anybody. It’s a treat playing on a team like this.
“I remind the guys of that when times get tough because there’s always going to be times during the season where there are lulls, guys getting a little unhappy. It’s just the nature of the business. But for me and Blake (Celtics forward Griffin), we’ve been in situations where a team is not winning, where the team is really struggling and there’s chaos. So definitely I try to encourage the guys to be appreciative of what they have here.”
This will be the second meeting of the season between the teams that met in last season’s Eastern Conference finals, won in seven games by the Celtics.
Boston recorded a 111-104 road win over the Heat on Oct. 21 behind 29 points from Tatum and 28 from Brown.
Miami is 2-7 away from home this season but posted a rare road win by beating the Atlanta Hawks 106-98 on Sunday night. The Heat had lost seven straight road games before that victory.
“Coach (Erik Spoelstra) let us know that,” Miami forward Caleb Martin told the Miami Herald. “He put that on the board, 1-7, which I didn’t even realize. I knew we were struggling on the road, but just to put it into perspective for us and see it on the board. Like he was saying, it’s pretty disgusting to us to see how good of a team we are and we’re 1-7 on the road.”
Miami’s Bam Adebayo had a team-high 32 points and eight rebounds against the Hawks. Martin added 20 points, nine rebounds, four assists, two steals and one blocked shot.
The Heat played without Jimmy Butler, who has missed the past six games with a knee injury but is expected to return Wednesday. Miami enters Wednesday’s contest having won three in a row.
Miami played a zone for much of Sunday’s game and forced Atlanta to shoot from the perimeter. The Hawks were 10 for 36 (27.8 percent) from behind the 3-point line.
That defensive strategy may not work against the Celtics, who made 24 3-pointers during Monday’s win against Charlotte. Early this month, Boston set a franchise record by making 27 3-pointers in a 133-118 victory over the New York Knicks.
The Celtics recorded 40 assists during their win against Charlotte — the most they’ve had in a game since 2008. Smart had eight of his 15 assists in the opening quarter.
“Trying to get everybody the ball at the right time when they need it, where they like it and just to get us some easy baskets by doing that,” Smart said. “It gets everyone’s confidence up, and when people’s confidence is up, they tend to play a little harder on both ends of the floor.”