Jayson Tatum, Celtics rolling ahead of visit to first-place Heat

With wins in three of their last four games, Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics will look to keep rolling as they host Jimmy Butler and the Eastern Conference-leading Miami Heat on Monday night.

Another big game for Boston’s star duo led the team to a bounce-back win over the host New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday.

Tatum erupted for 38 points to lead all scorers and added eight rebounds and seven assists to guide the Celtics to a 107-97 win.

Jaylen Brown chipped in 31 points for Boston, whose only other double-digit scorer was Josh Richardson with 10 off the bench. The Pelicans scored the game’s first two points, but never led after that as the Celtics went up by as many as 20.

Tatum finished with 17-of-26 shooting for the game, including a perfect 13-for-13 mark on 2-point attempts. He became the 15th player in NBA history to make at least 13 2-point attempts without a miss. Brown made 11 of 20 shots and 4 of 9 from 3-point range.

«We know we’re much harder to beat when both are firing on all cylinders,» Celtics head coach Ime Udoka said. «They’ve been shooting better, attacking better, and making plays, and we expect that from those two.»

It was a rebound performance for Boston just 24 hours after a disappointing 108-92 setback at Atlanta.

«We were just a different team compared to (the Hawks game) and I think it showed,» Tatum said. «We had more assists, and the ball was just popping.»

Meanwhile, Miami couldn’t keep pace with Toronto in a 124-120 loss in triple overtime at home on Saturday.

Despite a triple-double of 37 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists for star Jimmy Butler, the Heat ran out of gas in the extra periods after outscoring the Raptors 25-15 in the fourth quarter to force overtime.

«We never gave up, so you’ve always got to like that,» Butler said. «You’ve got to respect that. I feel like we got better in the sense of fighting back, learning from our mistakes early on.»

Gabe Vincent contributed 17 points and Bam Adebayo totaled 14 and 16 rebounds. Tyler Herro had 13 points off the bench while P.J. Tucker, Caleb Martin and Max Strus each scored 11 to round out the well-balanced Miami attack.

«I don’t think anybody is leaving this arena, you know, that played all those minutes going down the stretch, without feeling that they left it all out there,» Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. «It was highly competitive and wild swings back and forth.»

Despite the loss, the Heat have won three of four and nine of their last 12 games overall.

Miami played without former Raptors All-Star guard Kyle Lowry (personal reasons), as well as reserves Markieff Morris (return to competition reconditioning) and KZ Okpala (wrist) versus Toronto.

Boston will be without reserves Bol Bol (right foot surgery) and P.J. Dozier (left ACL surgery) versus the Heat.

Monday’s meeting will be the second of three between the Heat and Celtics this season. Boston earned a 95-78 road win over Miami in the teams’ first matchup on Nov. 4. Brown had 17 points to pace the Celtics while Butler led all scorers with 20 for the Heat.

–Field Level Media