Boston (USA), May 9 (EFE) .- Forward Jimmy Butler recovered his best level of play and with a double-double of 26 points and 11 assists, he emerged as the leader that led the Miami Heat to victory away 124-130 against the Boston Celtics, keeping them sixth in the Eastern Conference.
Guard Duncan Robinson added 22 points and center Bam Adebayo finished with 20 points as the Heat’s third-leading scorer, increasing their lead over Boston to two games for sixth place in the standings.
The Heat (37-31) now have the same record as Atlanta’s fifth-place finisher, but the Hawks own the tiebreaker and remain at the top of the Southeast Division standings as well.
It is the first of two straight games between Miami and Boston, which they meet for the last time during the regular season on Tuesday.
French forward Evan Fournier scored 30 points to lead the Celtics (35-33), who have lost three of four games as they try to avoid the play-in round of the playoffs.
Power forward Jayson Tatum added 29 points as the second leading scorer and point guard Kemba Walker finished with another 18 points, but could never get the decisive goals to fall on his side.
Miami led 26 in the first half before Boston returned, opening the third quarter on a 22-8 streak to get within 12 points.
The Celtics kept cutting and slashing all the way to 107-113 with 4:51 to play on a Walker layup, but that was all the Boston team was ultimately able to get in their comeback attempt.
Boston struggled offensively without All-Star guard Jaylen Brown, who missed his third straight game with a sprained right ankle.
The Heat controlled the pace early and shot 75 percent (15-of-20) in a key second quarter in which they outscored the Celtics 20-43 and led the way to a major win.
(c) EFE Agency