March 15, 2024

Five Star Sport

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NBA Playoffs: Jimmy Butler, Heat Stun Celtics Again to Take 2-0 Series Lead

3 min read
NBA Playoffs: Jimmy Butler, Heat Stun Celtics Again to Take 2-0 Series Lead

The NBA Finals are now just two games away for the Heat.

The Celtics stumbled once more on Friday to put an end to what had been a dismal start to the Eastern Conference finals after doing so in Game 1 on Wednesday night. The Miami Heat defeated the Boston Celtics 111-105 at TD Garden, closing the gap in the series to 2-0 as it moves to South Florida this weekend. The Heat came back from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter.

With a perfect 6-0 record at home thus far in the postseason, the Heat are now just two victories away from making their first NBA Finals appearance since 2020. In a best-of-seven series, NBA teams are just 5-23 when they lose the first two games at home as well.

Friday night’s game was largely under Boston’s control, and it looked as though they might be able to win it.

The Celtics went on a huge 21-2 run that continued into the second quarter and gave them an early double-digit lead after getting off to a slow start. Miami, on the other hand, immediately responded with a 19-2 run of its own and took a 4-point lead into halftime. Caleb Martin scored 14 of his 25 points in the first half while coming off the bench and made 6-of-9 shots overall.

In the third quarter, Jayson Tatum took over, though it took them a minute after the half to get going. He scored 15 points during the period to help the Celtics gain an 8-point advantage at the half. They defeated the Heat as well, holding them to just 1-of-7 from beyond the arc while outscoring them by 12 points.

In the fourth, the Celtics quickly increased their advantage to ten points as they tried to forget about their disastrous second-half performance in Game 1. But as soon as Jimmy Butler brought the Heat back within 4 points, things between him and Grant Williams became very heated.

A Duncan Robinson layup and Butler’s next two baskets, one of which he made over Williams, allowed the Heat to retake the lead. This exchange did not hurt them in any way.

A massive put-back dunk from Bam Adebayo followed by a free throw from Max Strus capped an 18-4 run that completely turned the game around and gave the Heat a 5-point lead with less than a minute remaining.

Tatum made five free throws in the subsequent 30 seconds to cut the margin to just two points, but Gabe Vincent and Strus each made four free throws to seal the 6-point victory and clinch a 2-0 series lead. Following Williams’ contact with Butler, the Heat went on a 24-9 run to win the game.

Butler had 27 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists to lead the Heat. With 22 points, 17 rebounds, and 9 assists, Adebayo came very close to a triple-double. Martin set a playoff record with 25 points, which was also a high.

34 points, 13 rebounds, and 8 assists from Tatum helped the Celtics to victory. Along with Robert Williams’ 13 points and 3 rebounds, Jaylen Brown contributed 16 points.

On Sunday, Miami will host Game 3 of the series.


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