Celtics Win Fourth Straight Game, Beat Heat At TD Garden

With 10 games left, Heat look to finish playoff push

The Boston Celtics have caught (kind of) the Cleveland Cavaliers in the standings thanks to a 112-108 victory over the Miami Heat on Sunday night.

Isaiah Thomas led the team with 34 points and seven assists, Gerald Green and Al Horford added 15 points each while Jae Crowder and Kelly Olynyk chipped in with 13 points. Instead of being down by three, the Heat were down four with 20 seconds left.

With 10 games to go in the season, the Heat could become the first National Basketball Association franchise to reach the playoffs after posting an 11-30 midpoint record.

Heat shooting guard Tyler Johnson led the team in scoring with 24 points off the bench, while power forward James Johnson had 20 points and six assists. The Celtics are still percentage points behind the Cavaliers and don't own the tiebreaker, but they're still virtually tied for that top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Celtics played catch-up throughout most of the first half before finding their offensive rhythm.

"He's a tough dude", Heat point guard Goran Dragic said.

Smart bobbled, and almost lost the ball as he tried to go up for a layup, and he ended up trapped between Whiteside and Goran Dragic, inches away from the baseline. "I think that's really where you make a name in this league", center Hassan Whiteside told reporters when discussing the playoff push. Cleveland's schedule isn't quite as forgiving, with road games in San Antonio and Chicago (#TNTBulls) coming up next and that aforementioned roadie in Boston, among other tough games.

Thomas, guilty of six turnovers, finished with 30 points - his 49th 25-point-plus game of the season. His only make was one of his typical end-of-the-quarter prayers (this time a running 26-foot 3-pointer to end the first quarter).

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"It's important to have depth, and the fact that we have so many versatile guys or guys that can put the ball in the basket, that's a big, big key", Ariza said.

A goaltending call against Miami that stood up under review gave Boston a four-point lead with 20.6 seconds left. Avery Bradley returned after missing a game with stomach flu. Coach Erik Spoelstra found his midseason touch again, drawing even more credit for avoiding the potential pitfalls of a rotation stocked with players on short-term deals. It is worth noting that Johnson still had about 30 fantasy points against the Raptors, while shooting just 3/14 from the field. During Boston's current four-game winning streak, Smart is averaging 8.8 points on 23.5 percent shooting and is a minus-35 in his floor time.

"You know what? I've said this before".

"Marcus could score 30 in a game and hit every shot, or he could score zero and not hit a shot, and his two biggest strengths are still his competitiveness and his brains", said C's coach Brad Stevens. And those two things mean more than any points or no points that he could score. "We just happened to do our walkthrough on the court".

Crowder got it going early, knocking in mid-range jump shots and easy layups in transition. "He's got an understanding and instincts that are just really special".

"It's just a tie, though, so it's not that cool", he said.

"I can impact the game without scoring and things like that". "I try to make plays for guys".

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