The Miami Heat will get the chance to play road spoiler for another Eastern Conference contender when they take on the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.
The Heat enter off a 121-110 overtime win over the Raptors on Tuesday — Toronto’s first home loss in 10 chances this season. With the win, Miami narrowed the list of NBA clubs undefeated at home to three, and it’ll get the chance to cut it down to two against Boston (7-0).
The Heat (8-0) are one of the other teams perfect at home, as are the Philadelphia 76ers (10-0).
The Celtics have won three of their last four heading into Wednesday’s clash. The Heat are riding a three-game winning streak.
Jimmy Butler led the way for Miami in overtime against Toronto, scoring the extra period’s first eight points. He added 13 rebounds and 12 assists for his fifth career triple-double and first since 2017.
“He’s a special player,” teammate Kelly Olynyk said. “There’s nothing Jimmy can’t do. He’s a super unselfish player, but when the moment is there and the time is there, he steps to the plate and knocks (it) out of the park.”
Butler, in his first season with Miami, has played a pivotal role in leading the Heat to a sizable lead atop the Southeast Division, averaging a team-leading 19.0 points. He’s also getting it done with his defense, as shown Tuesday with a steal in overtime to lead to a dunk capping his 8-0 spurt.
“Keep playing the way I’ve been playing, shoot the ball, pass it and defend,” Butler said of his mindset. “I think that was the thing we talked about in the huddle. We were going to win it on the defensive end.”
The Celtics also have a new face leading the way — point guard Kemba Walker, who is averaging 21.6 points. But Walker was happy to take a backseat to his teammates Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum in a 113-104 win over the New York Knicks on Sunday.
Tatum scored 30 and Brown 28 while Walker was held to 16 points on 6-of-18 shooting in the win.
“It’s fun to watch,” Walker said. “The dudes are so talented, especially for their age. It makes life easier for me – to not have a great shooting night and still get the win, that hasn’t happened much over the course of my career, so I’m excited about it.”
Tatum, 21, is averaging 21.1 points this season. Brown, 23, is just behind him at 19.3.
The Celtics expect to play Wednesday without guard and team leader Marcus Smart, who exited Sunday’s win over the Knicks with an oblique injury. Smart, also dealing with a cold, didn’t practice Tuesday and has been labeled doubtful against Miami.
“He’s only going to play if he’s 100 percent or close,” coach Brad Stevens said.
The Heat likely will be without guard Goran Dragic, who missed Tuesday’s game with a strained right groin.
Miami has lost three straight to Boston and 11 of 14 meetings.
-Field Level Media