Jimmy Butler scored 24 points, and Kyle Lowry added 23 points as the Miami Heat defeated the host Boston Celtics, 106-98, on Wednesday night.
Bam Adebayo added 17 points and a team-high 12 rebounds as Miami outscored Boston 27-15 in the fourth quarter.
Miami (49-28) kept its narrow one-game lead in the Eastern Conference over the Milwaukee Bucks. Boston (47-30) and the Philadelphia 76ers both trail Miami by two games.
The Celtics, who still won the season series against Miami, 2-1, got 28 points, 10 rebounds and six assists from Jalen Brown. Teammate Jayson Tatum added 23 points and six assists.
Also for Boston, Al Horford had a game-high 15 rebounds, and Marcus Smart had a team-high eight assists. Smart was ejected with 10.8 seconds left in the game.
Boston used a 9-0 run to end the first quarter with a 29-25 lead. That run was interrupted by Miami’s Tyler Herro, who hit a 3-pointer at the quarter buzzer. The Celtics had an 8-0 advantage on points off turnovers, and they got 11 points from Brown.
Miami closed the second quarter on a 9-1 run, taking a 53-52 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, Miami stretched its lead to 69-58 with 7:51 left. But Boston responded with a 16-0 run and finished the quarter with an 83-79 advantage.
Miami fell behind 90-85 with 7:43 left in the fourth, but the Heat went on a 17-6 run to take control of the game with 1:43 left.
After a Tatum layup, Boston was trailing 102-98. Then, with 35 seconds left, Miami’s Max Strus drew an offensive foul on Tatum. Boston challenged, but the call stood after a video review.
“It felt like a playoff game,” Strus said after the game.
For the game, Miami shot 48.1 percent, including 13-for-34 on 3-pointers.
Boston outscored Miami in the paint, 48-34, but the Celtics shot just 41.2 percent from the floor, including 11-for-37 on 3-pointers.
–Field Level Media