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Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward lead Celtics over Miami Heat, 109-101

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Boston earned a big win as the Celtics and Heat jockey for position in the Eastern Conference standings.

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images

Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward put together nearly identical performances versus the Miami Heat Tuesday night, and they were much needed for the Boston Celtics to get back into the win column.

Brown netted 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting to go along with five assists, while Hayward went 10-of-14 from the field to tally 29 points and grabbed nine rebounds as they powered the Celtics to a key 109-101 win over the Heat at the American Airlines Arena.

The duo’s play was magnified not only by the absence of Jayson Tatum, who missed his third straight game due to a groin strain, but also due to the lack of production from Boston’s starting backcourt. Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart each hit a big 3-pointer in the fourth quarter, especially Smart when he knocked down a trey with 1:50 left as Miami had closed to within five, but they mostly struggled from the field, combining to hit just 8-of-32 shots for 27 points.

Brown certainly made a claim to be selected as an All-Star with his strong play against the Heat. He displayed his elite athleticism by getting to the rim consistently and had a good shooting stroke going by connecting on 4-of-8 3-pointers. Brown’s best moment of the game came in the third quarter, when he scored seven straight points in a span of 1:04 by attacking the rim for a bucket, draining a 3-pointer and then hitting a pull-up elbow jumper.

The Celtics got off to a strong start in large part due to Brown and Hayward, leading by as much as 13 in the first quarter, but the Heat went to a 2-3 zone in the second quarter to stymie the C’s offense.

The zone defense worked for a while, allowing the Heat to take a brief lead midway through the stanza, but the C’s figured it out to pull in front by halftime, 53-48. The Celtics always came up with a response in the second half as the Heat never led over the final 24 minutes and couldn’t get within one possession in the fourth quarter.

Brad Stevens used just an eight-man rotation in the win, as Daniel Theis posted a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds, while Grant Williams, Semi Ojeleye and Brad Wanamaker had their moments as the only bench members that played.

It was just the third time this season that the Heat lost on their home floor.