HEAT Earn Hard-Fought Win Over Celtics

Jimmy Butler
Photo Credit: Brian Babineau
by Joe Beguiristain

Heading into the HEAT’s important matchup with the Celtics, Erik Spoelstra kept it simple when he said, “This ultimately is about competition and rising to the level of what this game is going to bring."

And Miami did just that in a 130-124 victory over Boston Sunday afternoon at TD Garden to remain the sixth seed for the time being and go up two games on the Celtics in the standings.

Let’s get into some takeaways.

1. Jimmy Seals It

With Boston trying to storm back from a 26-point deficit in the second half, Jimmy Butler essentially shut the door on them.

From short pull-up jumpers and finishes in the paint to great passes to his teammates, Butler did whatever it took to come away victorious.

Oh yeah, he also hit a big three.

And when he wasn’t picking apart the Celtics’ defense, he was making things as tough as possible on Jayson Tatum and others on the flip side of the ball.

Talk about a complete game.

When it was all said and done, Butler amassed a team-high 26 points (22 in the second half) on 9-of-14 shooting from the field, including 1-of-3 from distance, and 7-of-8 shooting from the line, a game-high 11 dimes, a team-high eight boards, two steals and a game-high plus-10 rating.

2. Duncan Stays Strong On Both Ends

From the opening tip, Duncan Robinson got to his spots and moved extremely well off the ball.

That manifested itself into a team-high six treys, with none as important as this clutch one that put the HEAT up 121-112 with 2:40 left:

And on the defensive end, Robinson competed very hard against guys like Tatum and Marcus Smart.

In all, the former Michigan Wolverine tallied 22 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field, including 6-of-10 from downtown, and a perfect 2-of-2 shooting from the line, three rebounds, one assist, one steal and a plus-four rating.

3. Trevor Sets The Tone

So…Trevor Ariza put together one heck of a second quarter to help Miami build its early lead.

In addition to playing stout defense on Kemba Walker in man and a bevy of others on switches and help situations, including Smart and Tatum, Ariza showed his entire offensive repertoire in a 15-point period.

Of course, cuts to the basket and treys were part of the equation, including this triple that gave the HEAT 79 points at the break:

Those 79 points were the second-most in a first half in franchise history.

Ariza ended up with 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including 2-of-7 from long-range, four rebounds, a game-high three steals, one assist, a team-high one block (tied with Dewayne Dedmon) and a plus-six rating.

Other Takeaways:

-Although Bam Adebayo was a little quiet through three quarters, he made a major impact down the stretch to ensure the victory.

Naturally, switches on the perimeter were paramount, but so were some huge buckets on the other end when Miami really needed them.

That’s big time.

Adebayo concluded with 20 points (nine in the fourth) on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting from the field and 10-of-11 shooting from the charity stripe, six boards, three assists and two steals.

-Like Ariza, Tyler Herro also had a big second quarter and finished with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, three rebounds and a plus-seven rating in 17:08 of action.

Game Note:

-Victor Oladipo (right knee soreness) was inactive.

Looking Ahead:

-The HEAT will face the Celtics once again on Tuesday before heading back to the 305 for their regular-season home finale against the Sixers on Thursday at 7:30 PM. Tickets for that game at AmericanAirlines Arena can be found here.


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