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Celtics thrash Heat, 122-92

Max Strus was the sole bright spot for Miami.

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

The Miami Heat may have lost this Monday night game at the Boston Celtics when they went three overtimes deep Saturday night 124-120 loss to the Toronto Raptors in the middle of a four-games-in-five-nights set.

Earlier today, the Heat announced that Jimmy Butler and P.J. Tucker, who both played big minutes in the triple-overtime game, would sit out. Add in Kyle Lowry remaining out for personal reasons, Omer Yurtseven in health-and-safety protocols and KZ Okpala and Markieff Morris still out, and the Heat only had 10 players available.

Monday night’s game in Boston started flat, as the Celtics quickly jumped out to an early lead against a Heat team that struggled to muster any semblance of an offense. And because of the Heat’s thin front-court, Erik Spoelstra played Bam Adebayo and Dewayne Dedmon together. (Later, Adebayo and Chris Silva played in tandem.) Miami only scored 14 points in the first 12 minutes. The Celtics scored 27.

The Heat’s sole bright spot came in the second quarter, when some hot shooting from Max Strus cut into the Celtics lead. Strus, actually, finished with eight made 3s — three of which came in the second period. He led Miami with 27 points on the night.

A Bam Adebayo and-one slam actually pulled Miami to within 46-43 late in the second quarter — probably his best moment of the night — but Boston scored 40 points to dominate the third quarter and put the game to rest. The Heat simply didn’t have enough Monday night.

Instead of a signature win this season Miami has obtained while short-handed — like the victories over the Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns without Butler and Adebayo — this game resembled the blowout losses to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Memphis Grizzlies and Denver Nuggets shortly after Adebayo’s injury.

Saturday night against the Raptors, Butler scored 37 points to compensate for poor shooting performances from his teammates. Tonight, Butler wasn’t there, and the others continued to shoot poorly. Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson, who both struggled against the Raptors, shot 2-of-8 from beyond the arc tonight. Herro shot just 5-of-18 overall.

Miami needed an aggressive night from Adebayo, but he took just 11 field goals and made just three trips to the foul line. The Heat need Adebayo to tap into his offensive repertoire featuring mid-range jumpers and bursts to the rim. Since he’s returned from injury, Adebayo has been too willing to pass out of shots right at the rim for 3-point shooters. In other cases, the 2020 All-Star hasn’t sought to exploit mis-matches. That needs to change.

Of course, there’s no need to overreact to this loss. The Heat were missing three starters and are in the midst of a four-games-in-five-nights stretch. Lowry and Butler are key cogs to Miami’s offense, and P.J. Tucker has been the perfect role player. But Adebayo and Herro need to elevate their games when circumstances call them to do so.

The Heat will visit the Toronto Raptors tomorrow night.