Heat beat shorthanded Celtics 98-95 in Butler’s absence

MIAMI — No, it’s not a full game, it’s a game of exclusions given the missing bodies on both sides.

However, a strong play from Bam Adebayo interrupted a landslide victory.

At this stage of the season, that’s what the Miami Heat need most.

So, in the absence of Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Al Horford for the Boston Celtics, the Heat played through the required games at Miami-Dade Arena on Tuesday night to win 98-95 for the victory and a season-best five-game win. 500.

“If we have to win ugly, so be it,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We held them to 13 points in the fourth quarter.”

With Jimmy Butler out with a tight back, the Heat rode Adebayo, who had 30 points and 15 rebounds, to Heywood Highsmith 15, Max Struth 13 and Victor Ola Backed by Debow’s 12 points, the Heat got 4 on the night. Tyler Herro went 1 for 19 from the field and Kyle Lowry went 1 for 7 from the field.

With the Heat outscoring the Celtics 21-8 with 8:46 left, Adebayo gave the Heat a permanent lead with a 13-foot jumper with 20.4 seconds left.

“We don’t want this to continue,” Adebayo said of having to fight back, while showing determination to do so. “That’s the most important thing for us. We don’t want to keep digging ourselves and trying to dig ourselves out.”

Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 31 points, adding 14 rebounds and seven assists.

Five-degree heat for Tuesday’s game:

1. Closing time: The Heat led 32-30 at the end of the first quarter, then trailed 58-50 at halftime, shooting 6-for-24 from the field and 1-for-8 from 3-point range in the second quarter as Boston went on an 11-0 run. .

The Celtics led by 14 points in the third quarter before the Heat went into the fourth quarter with an 82-75 lead.

The Heat then trailed by 10 midway through the fourth quarter, tying it 87-87 with a dunk by Adebayo with 5:45 left.

Herro’s 3-pointer then extended the Heat to 15-0 and gave the Heat a 92-87 lead.

Through it all, the Celtics made it 95-95 with 42 seconds left, relying on a Grant Williams 3-pointer before Adebayo hit a jumper with an assist from Herro, and the Heat The team led 97-95.

“I found him in the pocket,” Herro said. “That’s his sweet spot.”

Finally, when it was needed most, Herro intercepted a pass from Jayson Tatum with 1.2 seconds left, leading to a Heat timeout with 9/10s left.

After Highsmith hit one of two free throws, Boston’s Peyton Pritchard made a potentially game-tying 3-pointer with six-tenths of a second left to end the game.

2. Adebayor’s participation: With Butler out and the Heat’s wings out, Adebayo scored 12 points in the third quarter, while also dropping defensive Tatum often.

He then had nine points and eight rebounds, playing the full 12 minutes of the fourth quarter.

“I just think he’s an All-Star and he showed that tonight,” Spoelstra said.

“Bam was also great at the back of our zone.”

Adebayo made 12 of 22 shots from the field and 6 of 8 free throws.

“Coach did a good job of emphasizing getting me the ball, and I was just taking advantage of my opportunities,” Adebayo said.

Teammates are fine with Adebayo taking his chances.

“I did see the will and the strength in him, and he’s going to lead us to victory,” Highsmith said of the inertia provided by Adebayo’s energy. “He must have gone in his bag.”

The Heat are again trying to buy time with two-way player Orlando Robinson as Adebayo’s backup, and Dwayne Dedmon hasn’t played in six games since he was suspended one game for team-defying conduct.

3. Highsmith Factor: With the team recently back healthy, Highsmith emerged from the Heat’s rotation, and on a night when the Heat’s starting wing didn’t get it, Highsmith provided the spark needed with his energy and 3-point shooting.

“It was really inspiring,” Spoelstra said of Highsmith’s game. “He burns the most calories. He’s all over the place. H plays so well, you can’t take him out of the game.”

Highsmith has been limited to a total of 12 sweep minutes in the first three games, including a coach’s decision in Sunday’s win over the New Orleans Pelicans, in which Highsmith played with starting power forward Kelley. Together, Boumartin dealt with four troubles and a lingering quadriceps problem.

Highsmith’s fourth 3-pointer was a career-high in a single game, and all four of his attempts came from behind the arc.

“My presence on this team has always brought energy,” Highsmith said.

4. Four times: A total of four starters are out, with Butler out for the Heat with what the team said was a back strain before the game, and Brown, Smart and Horford out for Boston with injuries.

“We found JB at shootaround, and his back was really tight,” Spolestra said.

For the Heat, that means the end of the Heat’s three-game streak, with their preferred starting lineup of Butler, Adebayo, Herro, Lowry and Martin.

The starting five is still 9-8, and the Heat haven’t played four consecutive games together this season.

5. Three things: Struth was again an emergency starter for the Heat, his 25th start in 47 games, and he’s expected to be a sixth man this season.

“I think it’s awesome to be able to plug and play a lot of different roles,” Spoelstra said of Struth. “He was able to do that tonight.”

Amid his struggles this season, Struth made his first three 3-pointers to open the game and finished the first quarter with the same 13 points as the Celtics’ Tatum in the opening period.

The problem for the Heat was that they missed 11 straight 3-pointers before Victor Oladipo switched late in the third quarter.

The Heat made 12 of 33 three-pointers, Herro made 1 of 7 shots, Oladipo made 2 of 8 shots, and Lowry made 0 of 4 shots. Highsmith was 4 for 4 and Struth was 3 for 6.