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Heat Look To Stay Hot At Home Against Visiting Celtics

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MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – The Miami Heat is battling through a tough set of circumstances over the past month-plus.

Even though their number of available bodies continues to dwindle, the Heat aren't letting injuries become an excuse for failure as they fight for an Eastern Conference playoff berth.

While they have six players either out or questionable, the Heat will try to extend their longest home winning streak of the season to four Monday night when they take on the Boston Celtics.

Miami signed Michael Beasley to a second 10-day contract out of necessity Sunday with Chris Bosh (blood clots) and Josh McRoberts (knee) out for the season and Luol Deng (thigh), Goran Dragic (back), Hassan Whiteside (ankle) and Udonis Haslem (knee) likely game-time decisions versus Boston.

The rash of injuries has caused the Heat to go just nine deep in each of their last two games, but it certainly isn't keeping the club from competing. After nearly rallying from a 35-point deficit in Friday's 99-97 loss at Washington, the Heat stormed back from a 16-point hole in Saturday's 114-109 overtime home win over Sacramento.

"We're showing perseverance, man," Beasley said after scoring a season-high 18 against the Kings. "We're literally giving it everything we have - which isn't a lot right now. But we're showing character, if nothing else."

Dwyane Wade, who sat Friday because of a sore hip, returned with a team-high 28 points as the Heat shot 51.3 percent from the field. Tyler Johnson added 24 and hit a key 3-pointer as the shot clock expired with just under a minute left.

With its third win in four games, Miami (28-34) moved into a tie for eighth place in the tightly-bunched East.

"What we talked about just in the locker room right now, at halftime, before the game, at the walkthrough, was developing this grit and a competitive character," coach Erik Spoelstra said. "And this group is showing some grit, where they're not feeling sorry for themselves, they're not making excuses, they're just enjoying the competition."

The Heat, who haven't won four straight at home since late last season, scored 27 points off 22 Sacramento turnovers.

With Wade sidelined both meetings, Miami's defense has also keyed its success against the Celtics. They held them to 39.8 percent shooting in a 100-84 home win Dec. 21 and 37.0 percent in an 83-75 road win Feb. 1.

Boston (25-36) has shot 40 percent or less in four of its last five games coming into this matchup. The club had a 39.3 field-goal percentage and blew an early 20-point lead in Sunday's 103-98 loss at Orlando that snapped a two-game winning streak.

"If we want to be good," coach Brad Stevens said, "we've got to play a lot better than that for four quarters."

Isaiah Thomas scored 21 to go along with nine assists, while Brandon Bass had 19 points and 17 rebounds.

Thomas has averaged 21.0 points in nine games since being acquired from Phoenix last month. He's also scored 21.0 per game while hitting 17 for 33 from 3-point range in five career meetings with the Heat.

The Celtics, tied for 10th in the East, trail Miami and Indiana by 2 1/2 games for the final playoff spot. They're expected to be short-handed as well without guard Avery Bradley (elbow), who isn't expected back until Wednesday.

Tyler Zeller has been a difficult matchup for the Heat, totaling 39 points and 14 rebounds in the two games.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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