Heat can’t solve Celtics, lose at home 109-101
Miami has lost 2 of their last 3 at American Airlines Arena
MIAMI – Gordon Hayward had 29 points and nine rebounds, Jaylen Brown scored 25 points and the Boston Celtics led virtually the entire way to beat the Miami Heat 109-101 on Tuesday night.
Kemba Walker added 16 points and eight assists for Boston, which got 11 points from Marcus Smart and a 10-point, 11-rebound effort from Daniel Theis.
Goran Dragic led Miami with 23 points and Jimmy Butler scored 20. Bam Adebayo had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Duncan Robinson scored 12 points for the Heat — who lost at home to an Eastern Conference opponent for the first time in 14 games this season.
Boston outscored Miami 15-0 from 3-point range in the game’s first nine minutes, a big reason why the Celtics took control from the outset and built as much as a 13-point lead in the opening quarter.
Miami took the lead on a pair of occasions in the second, only for a span of a couple minutes. The Celtics took a 53-48 lead into the half and watched Miami score to make it a one- or two-possession game time and time again down the stretch.
But the Heat never held the lead in the second half. Every time they got close, Boston had the answer and Smart’s 3-pointer with 1:50 left put Boston up by eight to all but seal matters.
The tributes to the life of Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash Sunday along with his daughter Gianna and seven others, continued. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, Celtics coach Brad Stevens and their staffs wore Bryant’s signature sneakers — a gesture that other NBA coaches made Tuesday as well.
The Heat also displayed the numbers 8 and 24, Bryant’s two jersey numbers in the distinctive Los Angeles Lakers purple and gold, on an electronic sign attached to the basket stanchions.
Celtics: Jayson Tatum (right groin strain) missed his third consecutive game. Tatum said he feels like he’s closing in on a return. “Obviously, with that type of an injury, we have to be very careful,” Stevens said. ... Enes Kanter (bruised right hip) also remained sidelined. ... The Celtics play four of their next five games against teams below the .500 mark.
Heat: Adebayo’s games-played streak reached 133, one away from Isaac Austin for the fourth-longest run in Heat history. If he plays in every game this season, he’ll reach No. 2 on the list and be six shy of matching Glen Rice’s team record of 174. ... Mike Matheson and Aaron Ekblad of the Florida Panthers were among those in attendance.
Walker was part of USA Basketball this past summer for the World Cup in China, saying afterward that he wanted to be back with the team this summer for the Tokyo Olympics. He hasn’t wavered. “If they want me, I’m there,” Walker said Tuesday. USA Basketball is expected to announce a pool of players in the coming weeks, then will likely select the Olympic team before training camp this summer. The Olympics start July 24.
Toronto won its eighth straight on Tuesday, putting the Raptors past Miami for No. 2 in the Eastern Conference and putting Raptors coach Nick Nurse in the lead to coach the All-Star Game. The East coach will lead the team captained by Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Lakers’ Frank Vogel has already clinched the job of coaching the team that will be captained by LeBron James. The East coach will be the one from the team with the second-best record in the East after Sunday’s games; Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer has the Bucks way atop the East, but coached the All-Star Game last year and isn’t eligible this year.
Celtics: Host Golden State on Thursday.
Heat: Visit Orlando on Saturday.
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