The Celtics shot a franchise-worst 27.8 percent from the field (22-of-79) in a 90-70 loss at Miami on Dec. 27. Boston’s previous shooting low of 28.6 also came in a loss to the Heat on Jan. 4, 2002.
“It was a matter of they were hot and we were ice cold,” Celtics coach Jim O’Brien said after the loss.
After losing six straight, Boston won both ends of a home-and-home set with league-worst Cleveland. The Celtics took the opener 104-95 at home on Friday before a 110-106 win at Gund Arena on Saturday.
The win broke a sixth-place tie with Orlando in the Eastern Conference. Boston stands just one-half game behind New Orleans for fifth.
The Celtics will be tested in the season’s closing weeks, as four of their final eight opponents—Sacramento, Philadelphia, Orlando and Detroit—are either in the playoffs or likely to be.
The Heat have dropped five of six and were swept in a home-and-home series by the Milwaukee Bucks. After losing 109-87 on Sunday, Miami put up a much better fight before falling 91-86 at home Monday night.
The Heat begin a tough three-game road trip that also features games at New Jersey and Indiana.
STANDINGS (through March 31): Heat - 7th place, 23 1/2 GB, Atlantic Division. Celtics - 3rd place, 6 GB, Atlantic Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Heat - Caron Butler, 15.6 ppg; Grant, 10.4 rpg; Carter, 4.0 apg. Celtics - Pierce, 25.8 ppg and 7.3 rpg; Walker, 4.6 apg.
SEASON SERIES: Heat, 2-0.
LAST MEETING: Dec. 27; Heat, 90-70. At Miami, Eddie Jones scored 28 points and Stepania had 14 points and 14 rebounds to lead Miami. Walker scored 16 points for Boston but was just 5-of-21 from the field, including 1-of-8 from 3-point range.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Heat - 8-29 on the road. Celtics - 23-13 at home.
INJURIES: Heat - F Caron Butler (knee); G Jones (ankle); F Sean Marks (elbow); C Alonzo Mourning (kidney). Celtics - C Bruno Sundov (hamstring).