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.
The most important statistic
Miami Heat (1) vs. Boston Celtics (2) 118: 107 (BOXSCORE), Series: 1-0
- The Boston Celtics tore the heat down in the first half. The visitors scored 42 of the 62 points in the zone, giving the Celtics only two points less than the record after the season (since 1997/98). At the same time, it was a franchise record for Boston, both in regular season and playoffs. 28 of the Celtics’ 44 attempts came in the zone, with Boston sinking 59 percent of the shots in the first 24 minutes.
- In the third quarter, however, the glory was over. Miami kept the visitors at 14 points and just two field goals (15 attempts, 13.3 percent). No one has scored so badly in the last four seasons – regular season or playoffs. The Heat also forced 8 turnovers (6 against Tatum, 2 against Brown), which they used to score 12 points. Boston scored just 6 points in the zone in the second half.
- As in all the playoffs, the Heat did not hit very well from a long distance. It was 33 percent (10/30) in the end, but that was enough. Max Strus and Gabe Vincent each lowered three attempts, all of which were important shots and gave Miami momentum. Boston, on the other hand, took only 34 attempts, in the Bucks series there were significantly more.
- It was Jimmy Butler’s fifth playoff game, hitting 40 points with at least 60 percent from the field. The Heat star now shares third place with Charles Barkley. Only LeBron James (12) and Shaquille O’Neal (8) managed to do this more often.
- It was the game with blocks. Together, both teams played 20 blocks, the Heat set a new season record with 12 rejections. In addition to Adebayo (4), Butler and point guard Vincent each had 3 blocks.
Heat vs. Celtics: Thoughts on the game
Ime Udoka (Celtics head coach): “It’s disappointing that we were surprised by Miami’s physical game. We talked about it during the break. We reacted badly and just tried to make mistakes instead of making the right games.”
Erik Spoelstra (Head Coach): “Jimmy Butler is a real fighter. There are a lot of people in this league who want to play basketball, but he plays to win. It’s a big difference, and Jimmy does it like no other in the NBA.”
Jimmy Butler (Heat): “I do not care if the stage is small or big. I just do my thing. I love the physical game and like to run into my opponents to see who falls first. I want to know who fold first. “
Game star: Jimmy Butler
Miami was just more physical in this fight, and no one embodied it better than Jimmy G. Buckets. The Heat star dominated with his physical presence under the basket and grabbed several penalty throws (Boston fell on every pump-fake). In the third quarter, his efforts in defense also increased, and he won the division on his own against the Celtics team 17:14. As Boston worked on a comeback in the final piece, Butler sank middle-class jumper after middle-class jumper.
Match flop: Jaylen Brown
It seemed a little headless what Brown was doing during those 48 minutes. Always aggressively looking for the way to the basket, but too often ran into a wall of Heat defenders. Without Smart and Horford, 24 points (7/17) just wasn’t enough, mainly because most of them only came in the fourth quarter (after 36 minutes: 9 PTS, 3/12 FG), where the match felt like that. was already decided. 7 Tatum conversions were also unforgivable.
scene in the game
The Celtics had a hard time at the start of the third quarter, which was the period when Adebayo had his best period in the match for the Heat. One scene that stood out was when the center was isolated against Brown and he made a shift to the basket. Adebayo got stuck and unpacked a massive chasedown block, which ended in a wedgie. The heat center also secured the subsequent spring ball.
NBA Playoffs – Heat vs. Celtics: The Series at a Glance (1-0)
|1||May 18||02.30||Miami heat||Boston Celtics||118: 107|
|2||May 20||02.30||Miami heat||Boston Celtics|
|3||May 22||02.30||Boston Celtics||Miami heat|
|4||May 24||02.30||Boston Celtics||Miami heat|
|5 *||May 26||02.30||Miami heat||Boston Celtics|
|6 *||May 28||02.30||Boston Celtics||Miami heat|
|7 *||30. May||02.30||Miami heat||Boston Celtics|