Heat STUN Celtics with 123-116 comeback at TD Garden, as Miami outscores Boston by 21 points in third quarter to take Game 1 of Eastern Conference Finals
- The Celtics seemed to be in control of the Game 1 heading into the second half
- But the Heat stormed back in the third quarter to take control and win the game
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The Heat quieted a previously deafening Boston crowd on Wednesday night to take Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, beating their hosts 123-116 at TD Garden.
The Celtics led by nine at halftime and seemed to be in full control of the game.
But Miami exploded in the next quarter, outscoring Boston 46-25, and held on through some nervy last few minutes of the game.
Jimmy Butler was tremendous once again for the Heat. scoring 35 points along with seven assists, five rebounds and six steals.
‘One of the premier two-way basketball players of this association. … That´s what we needed.’ Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ‘Down the stretch Jimmy was able to do everything we needed – as a scorer and as a facilitator.’
And while the All-Star wing has at times looked devoid of help on offense this postseason, that was not the case on Wednesday as five of his teammates scored at least 15 points.
Jimmy Butler stuffed the stat sheet with 35 points, seven assists, six steals and five rebounds
Jayson Tatum scored 35 points but it wasn’t enough for the Celtics to avoid a shocking loss
Malcolm Brogdon added 19 points off the bench in 36 minutes for the Celtics
That included Bam Adebayo, who had 20 points and eight rebounds in an efficient 9-13 night from the field.
Kyle Lowry, who scored 15 points, praised Butler after the game for getting his teammates involved.
‘He’s one of the most unselfish guards I’ve ever been around,’ he said on TNT.
The No. 8 seed Heat, who scraped into the playoffs via the play-in tournament, entered the game as 8.5-point underdogs.
But Miami once again made the pregame predictions look silly.
‘We don’t care if you pick us to win,’ Butler told reporters after the game. ‘We never have, we never will. We know the group of guys we have in this locker room, we know that Coach Spo puts so much confidence and belief in each and every one of us.’
‘We play basketball the right way, knowing that we always got a chance.’
For Boston, Jayson Tatum scored 30 points, Jaylen Brown added 22 and Malcolm Brogdon added 19 off the bench.
But Boston couldn’t get the necessary stops in the fourth quarter after entering the final frame down 12, and found themselves playing iso-ball after a first half where the ball was humming.
Joe Mazulla’s team led by as much as 13 points at home but couldn’t put away the Heat
The Heat have now begun every playoff series this year with a win away from home
‘We lost our offensive purpose,’ Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said.
Miami made history on multiple fronts in the win.
The team’s 46 third-quarter points was the most in its postseason history, and Butler became the third player in NBA playoff history with multiple games of 35-plus points, five-plus rebounds, five-plus assists, and five-plus steals, per NBA History.
The only other players to achieve that feat are Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson.
The win – Miami’s third straight on the road to begin a series this postseason came in front of Cowboys star Micah Parsons, Bruins winger Taylor Hall and model Chanel Iman.
Game 2 will be in Boston on Friday.
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