On Wednesday night, Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals was played between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics. Jimmy Butler led the scoring for the Heat with 35 points, including 20 points scored after the break. However, the Heat were able to come back and defeat the Celtics with a score of 123-116.
After being behind by nine points at halftime, Miami altered the tide of the game by scoring a franchise playoff record-tying 46 points in the third quarter and outscoring Boston by 50 points over the last two quarters. This was Butler’s seventh game in the postseason with at least 30 points, and he also added seven assists, six steals, and five rebounds to his stat line.
“One of the best two-way basketball players in this league. That’s exactly what we needed.” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra remarked. As the game ended, Jimmy could do everything the team required of him, both as a scorer and facilitator.
Additionally, Bam Adebayo contributed 20 points and eight rebounds to the team’s total. Additionally, 15 points were contributed by Kyle Lowry, Caleb Martin, Gabe Vincent, and Max Strus. The Heat shot an impressive 64 percent from beyond the arc, making 16 of 31 attempts.
The eighth-seeded Heat has started all three of their postseason series with wins away from home. Friday night in Boston will host Game 2.
Despite being the Celtics’ leading scorer with 30 points, Jayson Tatum did not attempt a shot in the last period of the game. The final tally for Jaylen Brown was 22 points scored, and nine rebounds grabbed. Malcolm Brogdon contributed a further 19 points.
Ten of the twenty-nine three-point attempts made by the Celtics were successful, highlighting that the team performs at its highest level when it is defending and attempting more shots than its opponents.
According to Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla, his team “lost our offensive purpose.”
The Heat and the Celtics have faced each other in the conference finals three times in the past four years, with Wednesday’s game marking the beginning of the latest installment of their series. The previous year’s showdown between these two teams went to seven games, which Boston won.
The game started on Wednesday and felt like it was carrying on from the previous get-together. The first half ended with Boston holding a nine-point lead thanks to their interior dominance.
Spoelstra stated that his squad was “more intentional” during the final 24 minutes.
The Heat followed the example set by the Celtics and went on a 13-1 run to rapidly close the difference. They then inched their way back in front of the game in the third quarter, thanks to Butler’s ability to penetrate the defense and create openings for his teammates.
The fans at TD Garden began to boo after the Heat established a lead of 103-91 into the fourth quarter after posting a 46-25 scoring advantage over the Celtics in the third quarter.
A three-pointer by Vincent ended the run that was started by Boston, which had scored the opening seven points of the fourth and final quarter.
Butler fouled Brogdon with more than three minutes left to play in the game. Miami led 114-109 at the time. However, only one of the two free shots he attempted was successful. During the next play for Miami, Butler could not reach Martin for a corner three-pointer because he was surrounded.
The ball was returned to the Heat after Tatum committed a turnover. The ball was then given back to Boston after a miss by Miami, but Tatum was called for traveling once more.
After running down the shot clock, Miami finally scored with one minute and three seconds remaining on the board, thanks to a 3-pointer by Butler.
The Celtics made a mistake by allowing Butler to play without restriction early on, and he capitalized by scoring 12 points in the first quarter.
Butler did not take another shot until the 5:45 mark of the second quarter, which resulted in a shot clock violation due to an airball. Boston’s defense became more aggressive in the second quarter. A few minutes later, he tried again, but the same thing happened to both of his attempts: he failed. He had 15 points as the halftime break rolled around.
During this time, the Celtics were aggressive around the basket, outscoring the Heat in the paint by a score of 40-16 in the first half. This was the most points the Heat had allowed in half of the season. Additionally, Boston had a lead of 11-2 in the category of points scored off of second chances.
The previous high for the Heat in the postseason was 43 points, which they achieved in 2016 against Charlotte. During his first nine minutes of action, Lowry scored 13 points by making five of the first six shots he attempted. Eighteen of Miami’s 28 points scored in the first quarter were contributed by Butler (12) and Adebayo (6) combined. It was the fifth time that Butler had hit double figures in the first period during this postseason.
Marcus Smart tallied 13 points and 11 assists for the Celtics in the game’s final tally. At the break, they held a 66-57 lead. After 47 issues had been scored, the last 5 minutes and 26 seconds of the half saw Boston outscore Miami 19-10. After leaving it off for the final two games of their semifinal series against the 76ers, Brown put on his black protection mask and continued to play. Near the end of the regular season, he suffered a facial bone fracture. Bill Belichick, coach of the New England Patriots, was present for the event.