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It should have been apparent when LeBron James was gobbling up a McFlurry about 75 minutes before game time that he wouldn’t be available Wednesday for the Heat. He then planted himself at the end of the bench and watched as his teammates became embroiled in a struggle with the Celtics that brought back memories.
The Celtics are in rebuilding mode and yet they have found the fortitude to compete and beat the Heat twice this season, including Wednesday’s 101-96 victory that brought a playoff atmosphere to TD Garden.
Nights such as these have been rare during this season. The Celtics haven’t always brought their best effort at home. They haven’t always executed down the stretch.
But they did so against the two-time defending champions,