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Heat shove their way back into series vs. Celtics with emphatic 111-101 victory fueled by Herro, Adebayo

BOSTON – The Miami Heat, at least this injury-depleted version of the Miami Heat, could not have asked for more, could not have scripted it better.

There were 3-pointers falling at a record pace, silky Bam Adebayo mid-range jumpers nestling through the net when relief points were needed, Tyler Herro sizzling as both set-up man and scorer, and a defense that reminded what Erik Spoelstra’s team can look like at its best.

And, through it all, still a fight to the finish.

Going against Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum can have that effect.

So no humbling Game 2 rout in this best-of-seven Eastern Conference opening-round playoff series like the 20-point mauling the Celtics put on the Heat in Sunday’s series opener.

Instead, the Heat fighting their way to a 111-101 victory Wednesday night at TD Garden, finding a way even  amid the injury absences of Jimmy Butler and Terry Rozier.

“In the playoffs,” Heat forward Caleb Martin said, “it’s great to have a short-term memory.”

And even better to be able to keep the faith.

“For me and my team,” Adebayo said, “it’s like why lose faith now? A lot of people think we’re going to buy into that we can’t get it done. It’s different; our guys believe.”

So now No. 8 seed and No. 1 seed 1 tied 1-1, with the No. 8 seed stealing homecourt advantage.

“These series are potentially long and they’re tough,” Spoelstra said, “and you have to stay emotionally and mentally stable throughout all of it.”

While the Celtics got 33 points from Brown and 28 from Tatum, the Heat’s attack was more balanced. There were 23 points and a season-high 14 assists from Herro, 21 points and 10 rebounds from Adebayo, as well as 21 points from Martin, 14 from Jaime Jaquez Jr. and 11 from Nikola Jovic.

Of Adebayo, Spoelstra said, “He was great when we needed to be settled.”

The Heat closed 23 of 43 on 3-pointers, two conversions shy of the all-time NBA playoff record.

“We decided to come in and just let it fly,” Martin said.

The series now shifts to Kaseya Center for Saturday’s Game 3 and Monday’s Game 4, before now returning next Wednesday to TD Garden for a Game 5.

“They put together a good game plan for them and they feel confident,” Brown acknowledged afterward. “I just thought they made a lot of shots that we normally feel comfortable with.”

Five Degrees of Heat from Monday night’s playoff game:

1. Closing time: The Heat led 28-27 after the first quarter, with the Celtics then taking a 61-58 lead into halftime.

From there, the Heat pushed to a 12-point lead in the third quarter, before Boston closed within 85-79 going into the fourth.

Later, the Heat went up 102-91 with  4:12 left, before the Celtics drew within 3:16 to play, forcing a Heat timeout.

“Knowing them, they’re going to come back.” Spoelstra said of the Celtics’ late push.

A Martin 3-pointer and Herro driving layup followed for a 107-96 Heat lead, with the Heat holding on from there.

2. The long ball: The 3-point emphasis was clear for the Heat from the outset, wth 15 of their first 19 attempts in the first quarter from beyond the arc.

That included a pair of 3-pointers apiece in the opening period from Jovic, Herro and Jaquez.

The Heat kept launching from there.

“In terms of the threes,” Spoelstra said, “you have to take them based on how they were playing us the first two games. That may change Game 3. There’s always going to be adjustments.”

The Heat then moved to 13 of 24 on 3-pointers at halftime, their high on 3-pointers in a half this season and most for a playoff half.

Through three quarters, the Heat were 19 of 33 from beyond the arc, at that stage one shy of their playoff single-game record.

“That always looks better when you make some shots,” Spoelstra said. “But those are the ones that were available.”

The Heat’s 20th 3-pointer also gave them the most by a Celtics opponent in the playoffs.

“Guys that we want shooting the ball was hitting them,”  Brown said “and we couldn’t get them to miss. We thought they were decent closeouts.”

3. The villain: After his hard foul against Tatum at the close of Game 1, Martin was jeered from his first touch.

He countered the noise by opening 4 of 5 on 3-pointers, evoking memories of what he did against the Celtics in last season’s Eastern Conference finals, when he finished as runner-up for MVP of that series to Butler.

“He’s the ultimate X-factor,” Spoelstra said of Martin. “He’s the X-factor of X-factors.”

Martin went 0 for 4 on 3-pointers in Game 1.

“I really knew I was going to come in and let it fly,” Martin said, “stop being passive and just play the game.”

4. Herro ball: Praised earlier in the day bySpoelstra for his playmaking, Herro played was artful and adept as the Heat’s primary ballhandler.

He was up to 18 points and eight assists going into the fourth quarter, a stage he also was 6 of 9 on 3-pointers.

“Obviously it’s a luxury to have a guy who can do both,” Adebayo said.

With Butler and Rozier out, it largely remains Herro or bust when it comes to shot creation for the Heat, be it for himself or for teammates.

“Just trying to make the right play, read the game, read the context of the game,” Herro said of Wednesday night’s playmaking.

5. The Jovic factor: The question of where the Heat first might find more 3-point shooting was somewhat answered early, with Jovic converting a pair of 3-pointers in the opening 2:30.

Jovic had been added to the injury report earlier in the day due to back spasms, but again was in the Heat starting lineup.

Jovic, who continually pushed the ball on bustout dribbles after defensive rebounds or Celtics turnovers, was up to 11 points, nine rebounds and six assists going into the fourth quarter.,

Jovic’s play largely kept Kevin Love out of the Heat rotation.

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