rewrite this title Celtics outlast Heat in rematch of Eastern Conference finals

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BOSTON (AP) — Derrick White had 28 points, including five 3-pointers, and the Boston Celtics rallied to beat the Miami Heat 119-111 on Friday night in a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference finals.

Jaylen Brown added 27 points and six rebounds. Jayson Tatum finished with 22 points in the latest matchup of the East rivals, who’ve met in the conference finals three out of the past four seasons.

They split their four meetings last season. Miami then emerged in the playoffs after a seven-game slugfest in which it had a 3-0 series lead erased before beating the Celtics in Game 7 in Boston to advance to its seventh NBA Finals.

Friday’s matchup, the first of their three this season, at times felt like an extension of that series.

Neither team led by more than five points at the end of any of the first three periods, as both teams hovered near 50 per cent shooting from the field. There were six ties and six lead changes on the night.

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Tyler Herro, who sat out the conference finals with a hand injury, had 28 points and five of Miami’s 16 3-pointers. Bam Adebayo added 27 points and seven rebounds. Jimmy Butler finished with 14 points on 3-of-11 shooting.

Miami led 88-87 entering the fourth quarter before Boston nudged in front 96-90 led by White, who scored eight straight Celtics points.

Boston’s lead grew to 109-102 with just over four minutes to play before Adebayo blocked Brown’s shot from behind. Butler collected the loose ball, sprinted ahead and was going in for a dunk when a trailing White chased him down and blocked Butler’s dunk attempt.

A turnover by White gave the ball back to Miami and Butler drew Kristaps Porzingis’ sixth foul on a putback attempt. Butler then knocked down two free throws to cut the Celtics’ lead to 109-104.

Boston got it back up to 112-104 on a layup by Brown and free throw by Tatum.

But another Heat flurry, capped by a 3-pointer by Kevin Love, cut the lead to 114-111 with 59 seconds to play.

White was fouled and connected on both free throws. Herro got open for another 3-point try but came up empty. The Celtics pushed the ball up the floor and Brown sealed it with a 3 from the wing.

Boston led 60-55 at the half.

The Heat came out hot and led by as many as 13 in the first quarter. Miami’s lead grew to 42-35 in the second period following a 3-pointer by Dru Smith. It was one of eight in the opening 24 minutes for the Heat, who had eight total in their season-opening win over Detroit.

But the Celtics dialed up their defense over the final 8 1/2 minutes of the half, outscoring the Heat 25-13 and forcing five turnovers in the quarter.

The Celtics began the night by honoring the victims of this week’s mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine with several acknowledgements. Boston players wore the warmups of their G League affiliate, the Maine Celtics. In addition, the Celtics donned a “Maine” band on their jerseys in honor of the state as it recovers after a shooter killed 18 people and wounded 13 at a bowling alley and a bar there.

The remembrances also included a pregame moment of silence.


Heat: Continue three-game road trip at Minnesota on Saturday.

Celtics: At Washington on Monday.

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