MIAMI (AP) — Kyrie Irving scored nine of his 24 points in the final 2:03, and the Boston Celtics extended their winning streak to four games after holding on late to beat the Miami Heat 96-90 on Saturday night.
Jayson Tatum scored 20 and Marcus Smart added 16 for the Celtics, who beat Miami for the eighth consecutive time.
It was Irving’s eighth time playing at Miami — and the first time he was part of a win. Miami cut Boston’s lead to two on a pair of occasions late, and Irving answered with a basket both times to give the Celtics some breathing room.
He sealed the win with 57 seconds left, connecting on a 3-pointer for a 93-86 lead.
Goran Dragic scored 22 points for Miami, which got 16 apiece from Josh Richardson and James Johnson. Former Boston forward Kelly Olynyk had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Heat, who were 7 for 31 from 3-point range.
Boston outscored Miami 53-37 in the middle two quarters — holding the Heat to 39 percent shooting from the field and 19 percent from 3-point range during that 24-minute span — and took an 11-point lead into the fourth, looking very much in control.
That is, until the Celtics went cold and the Heat showed some signs of life. A 7-0 Heat run got Miami within two, and that’s when Irving took over.
Celtics: Boston has won five straight in Miami, matching the longest such streak in franchise history. … The Celtics aren’t sure if Marcus Morris (sore left knee) will be able to play when they return home Monday, but coach Brad Stevens thinks Morris will be ready sometime in the coming week. Morris has already missed as many games this season — six — as he did in the previous four seasons combined.
Heat: C Hassan Whiteside (bruised left knee) missed his fourth consecutive game, and the Heat still aren’t sure when he’ll return. … Miami had what became a five-point possession late in the second quarter, when Richardson made two free throws after a Flagrant-1 on Al Horford — followed by a three-point play from James Johnson. … Dion Waiters didn’t play in the fourth quarter and scored only five points.
Stevens keeps a close eye on former players, and Olynyk and Jordan Mickey — former Celtics now with the Heat — are no exception. “I really root for everybody,” Stevens said. Same goes for Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who texted injured Celtics forward Gordon Hayward words of support after the All-Star’s grotesque ankle injury in Cleveland in the season opener. Hayward considered signing with Miami as a free agent this past summer.
Miami was held under 100 points for the first time this season.
Celtics: Host San Antonio on Monday, looking to snap an 11-game losing streak to the Spurs.
Heat: Host Minnesota on Monday, the fifth game in this six-game homestand.
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