NBA Playoffs: Miami Heat roll over Boston Celtics in third quarter

The Miami Heat defeated the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals 118-107. The top seed played an excellent third quarter, led by Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, to counter a strong first half from the weakened guests.

Jimmy Butler was the dominant game for the hosts, and the heat forward scored 17 of his 41 points (12/19 FG, 17/18 FT) in the third quarter. In addition, Butler recorded 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals and repeatedly put Celtics ball dealers under pressure. Tyler Herro (18, 7/15) kissed the hosts awake after a weak start.

Gabe Vincent (17) was convincing, as was Bam Adebayo (10, 3/4, 4 blocks), both of whom played a big role in the Heat completely throwing Boston out of rhythm early in the second half and punishing them in the transition. Jayson Tatum (29, 10/21, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals) played an excellent first half with 21 points but managed 6 turnovers in the third quarter alone.

Robert Williams (18, 9 rebounds) was one of the bright spots for the visitors, and Daniel Theis (8, 4/5, 4 rebounds) also had a couple of good moments, including this monster block against Dewayne Dedmon’s thumping attempt. Payton Pritchard scored 18 points (6/16) but was repeatedly involved in defensive play from Heat and Butler due to his size.

The Celtics made double substitutions compared to Game 7 when Marcus Smart (foot) and Al Horford (Corona) were out. Derrick White started for them and Robert Williams on the front lane, who dominated the first few minutes. Miami needed some time (0/7 to start), it was only with Herro that the offensive started to roll. The Celtics still led 28:25 after a quarter.

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Heat Defense and Butler turn the game around

With Tatum and “Time Lord” back on the field, the guests withdrew for the first time. Twice, Tatum found the center with a lob and also completed a couple of rides. There were also attacks from Pritchard, while there was very little from the role players of the hosts. The Celtics led 62:54 at the break, with Tatum hitting a jump shot at the end of the half and had already amassed 21 points.

But it took only three minutes before Miami took the lead. A quick 10-1 run made Celtics coach Ime Udoka angry, but it did not get much better after the break. It took seven minutes for Boston to hit a field goal, during which time the visitors instead accumulated 5 turnovers, twice Butler stole the ball for easy points. Tatum lost the ball six times, the Celtics’ rhythm was completely gone, and Miami won the quarter 39:14 (!). The game was reversed, Heat led 93:76.

The match seemed to be over, but after just two minutes, the Celtics were already in bonus. With a 10-0 run, the visitors got reduced to -10 with Butler on the bench. But they could not get any closer at the start as Butler relentlessly looked for Pritchard in defense and Max Strus now hit his three-pointer. Boston did not give up, but Butler always had an answer and confidently shook the victory home, even in times of crisis.

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