BOSTON (AP) — Hassan Whiteside scored half of his 20 points during a dominant stretch spanning the third and fourth quarters to help the Miami Heat stave off Boston’s rally and snap a two-game slide with an 83-75 victory over the Celtics on Sunday.
Whiteside also had nine rebounds and blocked three shots, while Chris Bosh added 18 points and Tyler Johnson had 13, helping overcome the absences of Dwyane Wade and Luol Deng.
Wade missed his second game in a row with a strained right hamstring, while Deng sat out his third straight with a strained calf. Wade, who injured himself in Tuesday’s loss to Milwaukee, is averaging 21.4 points and 5.4 assists per game.
Avery Bradley and Tyler Zeller led the Celtics with 17 points apiece, and Brandon Bass had 15. It was Boston’s third straight loss and fourth in its last five.
Both teams were coming off their worst shooting performances of the season. Miami was held to a season-low 33.0 percent in a loss to Dallas, while Boston shot 35.6 percent in a setback to Houston.
Neither fared much better Sunday, with Boston shooting 37 percent and Miami 41.6, but Whiteside’s 10-for-17 performance fueled the Heat’s third win in their last seven games.
The suddenly surging 7-foot sensation was relatively quiet for the first two-and-a-half quarters before he began resembling the center who came in averaging 15.3 points and 17.7 rebounds over his previous three games, including a triple-double line of 14 points, 13 rebounds and a franchise-record 12 blocks last Sunday.
After Boston erased a 12-point halftime deficit, tying it at 55 with less than three minutes to play in the third, Whiteside had his way with the young Celtics.
He scored Miami’s final four points of the third and opened the fourth by scoring six straight points, including a pair of long jumpers that restored the Heat’s eight-point cushion.
Heat: First-round pick Shabazz Napier, a Roxbury, Mass. native and four-year player at the University of Connecticut, scored five points in his return to Boston. . The Heat won the teams’ only other meeting this season, 100-84 in Miami on Dec. 21, 2014. . G Mario Chalmers played in his 486th game for the Heat, tying him with Keith Askins for fourth place on the team’s all-time list.
Celtics: F Tayshaun Prince, who scored 13 points in 21 minutes on Friday, didn’t play against Miami. Prince was acquired from Memphis in mid-January. . The Celtics plan on departing for Tuesday’s game in New York at 10:30 p.m. Sunday, weather permitting, to allow the team to watch the Super Bowl between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots.
Heat: At Detroit on Tuesday.
Celtics: At New York on Tuesday.