Kyrie Irving’s late flurry helps Celtics top Heat, 96-90

Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) drives around Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017, in Miami. The Celtics defeated the Heat 96-90. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

MIAMI (AP) — Kyrie Irving has done a lot of things in Miami: relaxation, offseason workouts, even the filming of an “Uncle Drew” commercial.

Something he hadn’t done there? Win.

He’s now crossed that off the list as well.

Irving took over down the stretch, scoring nine of his 24 points in the final 2:03 and the Boston Celtics extended their winning streak to four games after holding on late to beat the Heat 96-90 on Saturday night.

It was Irving’s eighth time playing at Miami, and the first time he walked off the Heat home floor a winner.

“Just big possessions down the stretch (and) understanding you have to stay poised,” Irving said. “It’s unwavering in those situations like that. Winning time — so it’s pretty simple.”

Jayson Tatum scored 20 and Marcus Smart added 16 for the Celtics, who beat Miami for the eighth consecutive time. And afterward, Tatum marveled at Irving’s closing flurry.

“It was weird because I’ve seen it on TV so many times,” Tatum said. “And I just saw it in person. I liked it.”

Goran Dragic scored 22 points for Miami, which got 16 apiece from Josh Richardson and James Johnson. Former Boston forward Kelly Olynyk had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Heat, who were 7 for 31 from 3-point range.

At 2-3, and mindful of how last season’s 11-30 start cost Miami a playoff spot, the Heat already sound anxious to get things fixed.

“I don’t want to have a season like last year, when it’s late and we figure out things,” Dragic said. “We’ve got to do it now, because it’s important.”

Miami was down 11 going into the fourth, then got within two on a pair of occasions late — when Irving got rolling.

He hit a short floater to put Boston up 88-84, and after Dragic scored to cut the Celtics’ lead to two again, Irving pulled off one of his acrobatic reverse layups to restore the four-point edge.

And on a possession extended by a Boston offensive rebound, Irving’s 3-pointer with 57 seconds left made the margin 93-86.

“That’s what he is,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He’s a great closer in this game.”

 

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