Payton Pritchard’s putback pushes Celtics past Heat, 107-105

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) drives to the basket as Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro (14) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier) The Associated Press

MIAMI (AP) — Payton Pritchard wasn’t there last season when the Boston Celtics lost to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals.

He helped Boston get a measure of revenge Wednesday.

Pritchard’s putback with two-tenths of a second left capped a wild finish, and the Celtics beat the Heat 107-105 in the first matchup this season of last year’s East finalists.

Jayson Tatum scored 27 points and Jaylen Brown had 21 for the Celtics, who wasted an early 17-point lead and a 10-point lead in the final minute before winning.

Jimmy Butler had 26 points for Miami, which got 16 points from Duncan Robinson, 15 points from Bam Adebayo and 14 from Goran Dragic.

The Celtics went on a late 13-0 run to go up 10 with 1:17 left — only to see the Heat score 10 points in 55 seconds to tie the game on a pair of 3-pointers by Robinson, one while getting fouled, and another from Dragic.

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Smart missed a layup on Boston’s last possession, but Pritchard swooped in for the rebound. Miami’s last-ditch try was knocked away as time expired.

The teams knelt for the national anthem in response to the decision earlier in the week to not charge the police officer who shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Wisconsin last year — as well as Wednesday’s events at the U.S. Capitol, where a violent mob loyal to President Donald Trump delayed Congress from certifying the results of November’s election and paving the way for President-elect Joe Biden to be sworn in later this month.


Boston made five 3-pointers in the first 5:45 for an early 21-9 lead, and the Celtics held Miami to one field goal in an eight-minute span of the second quarter on the way to leading by as many as 17.

The Heat cut the lead to eight by halftime, part of what became a 39-17 run that saw Miami lead by five in the third quarter. Grant Williams went over everybody for a putback in the final second of the third for Boston, and the teams were tied at 80 entering the last 12 minutes.

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