Celtics-Heat takeaways: Turnovers, Jimmy Butler heroics sink C's in OT loss originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Jimmy Butler did it to the Boston Celtics again.
The Miami Heat guard made clutch shot after clutch shot in the fourth quarter and overtime to propel his team to a 120-116 win Friday night. It was a playoff-like atmosphere at TD Garden.
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The result ends the Celtics' win streak at five games, and it's their first loss in three meetings with the Heat this season. Three of Boston's five defeats have been in overtime.
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Despite the loss, the C's still own the NBA's best record at 18-5.
The Celtics will be back in action Sunday night against Kevin Durant and the Nets in Brooklyn. But before we look ahead to that game, let's break down four takeaways from Celtics-Heat.
1) Jimmy Butler heroics lift Heat to win
Jimmy Butler returned to the Heat lineup after missing the previous seven games with a knee injury, and although he didn't play all that well for the majority of the game, the veteran guard made a huge difference when it mattered most.
Butler scored the Heat's last four points of regulation, including a clutch jumper to put Miami up 110-107 with 5.1 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
He also put the Heat up 116-114 with 1:45 remaining in overtime, and then sealed the win with a tough step-back to give Miami a 120-116 advantage with nine seconds remaining.
He finished with 25 points on 10-of-21 shooting with a game-high 15 rebounds in 35 minutes.
Few players in the league are more confident in their late-game abilities than Butler. He relishes the spotlight and wants to take the pressure shots. He showed that in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Celtics last season, and Friday night was yet another example.
2) Jaylen Brown carries Celtics' offense
Jayson Tatum struggled offensively Friday night, tying a season-low for first-half points with five and finishing with just 14 on 5-of-18 shooting.
With Tatum unable to get anything going, Brown stepped up and led the way.
The veteran guard led Boston with a season-high 37 points on 12-of-23 shooting (5-of-11 from beyond the arc), along with a team-leading 14 rebounds, plus five assists in 46 minutes.
Brown's three most important points came in the final seconds of regulation when he banked a very long 3-point shot off the glass to tie the score 110-110 and force overtime.
Brown is averaging 29.5 points over the last seven games, and he's averaging a career-high 26.1 points per game for the season.
Tatum has received a lot of praise, and deservedly so, for his high-scoring start to the season. Brown has taken his offensive game to another level, too, shooting a career-high 50.9 percent from the floor and 83.2 percent from the free throw line.
3) Celtics bench plays key role
Boston's bench scored 29 points, outscoring its Miami counterparts by 18.
Grant Williams gave the Celtics 18 huge points off the bench, including five in the final three minutes of regulation as the game hung in the balance. His 3-pointer with 1:21 remaining put the C's up 105-104.
Williams shot 6-of-8 from the field, including a 4-of-6 mark from 3-point range.
The Celtics bench combined to shoot 10-of-19 with nine rebounds, two assists, three steals and just two turnovers.
4) C's can't overcome sloppy play
There's just something about the Heat that makes the Celtics handle the ball in a careless manner.
The C's came into Friday averaging the fourth-fewest turnovers at 12.9 per game. They turned the ball over 20 times Friday night and the Heat scored 21 points off those mistakes.
In two games versus the Heat over the last three days, the Celtics totaled 38 turnovers that led to 36 points for Miami. Three of the Celtics' four games with the most turnovers this season have come against the Heat.
Miami does a great job getting their hands in the passing lanes, getting deflections and stripping the ball on drives to the basket. We saw them do a great job of that against the Celtics in last season's Eastern Conference Finals.
Not many teams can beat the Celtics right now, but turnovers definitely can do it.