Heat storm back against short-handed Celtics for 98-95 victory in Butler’s absence

MIAMI — No, not a complete game, something that was shuffled out of the equation considering the missing bodies on both sides.

But an emphatic win, punctuated by the power play of Bam Adebayo.

Which, at this stage of the season, is what the Miami Heat need most.

And so, with Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Al Horford out for the Boston Celtics, the Heat did what was required Tuesday night at Miami-Dade Arena, pushing to a 98-95 victory and again moving a season-best five games above .500.

With Jimmy Butler unable to go due to a knee issue, the Heat rode Adebayo, who finished with 30 points and 15 rebounds, supported by 15 points from Haywood Highsmith, 13 from Max Strus and 12 from Victor Oladipo, on a night the Heat got 4-of-19 shooting from Tyler Herro and 1-of-7 shooting from Kyle Lowry.

Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 31 points.

Five Degrees of Heat from Tuesday’s game:

1. Closing time: The Heat led 32-30 at the end of the first period and then trailed 58-50 at halftime, after shooting 6 of 24 from the field and 1 of 8 on 3-pointers in the second quarter, with Boston closing the half on an 11-0 run.

The Celtics went up 14 in the third period before the Heat closed within 82-75 entering the fourth.

The Heat then went down 10 midway through the fourth quarter, before tying it 87-87 on an Adebayo dunk with 5:44 remaining.

A Herro 3-pointer then extended the Heat’s run to 15-0 and put the Heat up 92-87.

Through it all, the Celtics tied it 95-95 with 42 seconds to play on a Grant Williams 3-pointer, before Adebayo drained a jumper for a 97-95 Heat lead with 20.4 seconds to play.

And then, when needed most, Herro stepped up with a steal of a Tatum pass, leading to a Heat timeout with nine-tenths of a second to play.

It ended with Boston’s Payton Pritchard off on a potential tying 3-pointer.

2. Adebayo competes: With Butler out and the Heat wings off, Adebayo tried to take control with a 12-point third period, while also regularly switching out for the defensive assignment on Tatum.

Adebayo closed 12 of 22 from the field and 6 of 8 from the line.

The Heat again tried to buy time with two-way player Orlando Robinson as Adebayo’s backup, with Dewayne Dedmon yet to play in the six games since his one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team.

3. The Highsmith factor: Shuffled out of the Heat rotation with the team’s recent return to health, Highsmith provided a needed spark with his energy and 3-point shooting on a night the Heat weren’t getting it from their starting wings.

Limited to a total of 12 minutes of mop-up duty in routs the previous three games, including held out by coach’s decision in Sunday’s victory over the New Orleans Pelicans, Highsmith was injected into the mix with start power forward Caleb Martin dealing with four trouble and a lingering quadriceps issues.

Highsmith’s fourth 3-pointer established a single-game career high, making all four of his attempts from beyond the arc.

4. Four down: A total of four starters were out, with Butler sitting out for the Heat due to back tightness that the team said developed just prior to the game, and Brown, Smart and Horford listed out for Boston with injuries.

For the Heat it meant an end to the three-game run of the Heat having their preferred starting lineup of Butler, Adebayo, Herro, Lowry and Caleb Martin.

That starting five remains 9-8, the Heat yet to have it together for more than four consecutive games this season.

5. The three thing: Strus again played as emergency starter for the Heat, his 25th start in his 47 appearances, in a season he was expected to play as sixth man.

Amid his struggles this season, Strus opened by converting his first three 3-point attempts, closing the opening period with the same 13 first-quarter points at the Celtics’ Tatum.

The problem for the Heat was they then endured a stretch of 11 consecutive missed 3-pointers before an Oladipo conversion late in the third period.

The Heat finished 12 of 33 on 3-pointers.