With no defense and a fierce attack by the Heat, the Eastern Conference Finals begin this Wednesday with Game 1 at TD Garden in Boston.
The Miami team, led by its star Jimmy Butler, came up with 35 points and a stellar collective game to beat the favorite Celtics 123-116, robbing them of the home factor in a series that is now 1-0 in their favor.
The Heat have won the first road game in all three series in these playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, and Boston.
The attitude and dedication with which the Heat took the field is commendable and was undoubtedly the key to the win.
After a poor second quarter, Miami rallied with a spectacular third quarter and took the game right there.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said, “We’ve been in these situations a lot of times with mistakes, lapses, but we were able to overcome it.”
“We adjusted in the second half and we were able to find a way to win.”
The Suns Capitals quintet was exceptional on offense with six players scoring 15 points or more, an all-time record, and shot 54.1 percent (51.6 on three-pointers).
In addition, he put up a solid defense with 12 steals, 6 of which were from Butler, who rounded off a stellar game with 5 rebounds and 7 assists. He became the first player in playoff history with 6 steals in a game.
It was Butler’s fifth game with 30 or more cards this season.
“Jimmy did what he had to do to get the win,” Spoelstra said.
“It was a collective effort. Everyone knew they had to contribute and they did.”
Bam Adebayo then did a stellar job in the paint with 20 cards, 8 rebounds and 5 assists in another important game for Downtown Miami.
Kyle Lowry lit up with three 3-pointers and contributed 15 points to the win, with Caleb Martin adding another 15 to lead a second unit that wasn’t quite as efficient this time.
Heats player Gabe Vincent drives the hoop against Robert Williams III of the Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on May 17, 2023 in Boston. Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Also finishing with 15 points each were Max Strauss and Gabe Vincent, who added 6 triples on 10 attempts.
For Boston, Jayson Tatum chipped in with 30 points, Jaylen Brown with 22, Malcolm Brogdon with 19, Robert Williams III with 14, Marcus Smart with 13 and Derrick White with 11.
While the Heat haven’t won anything yet, they took a huge step by moving within three wins of the NBA Finals and silencing the army of “experts” who were predicting a loss.
After a fierce exchange at the top, the Celtics took the first quarter 30–28 thanks to their stellar team play, which offset Butler’s 12 cards for the Heat, in a quarter where the attack triumphed over the defense of both teams. Did.
The second continued with the same tonic. Neither club managed to avoid a scoreboard that nobody owned, despite the fact that Miami got off to a slightly better start, with five triples from Lowry midway through the quarter to make the match very even.
But then Boston, relying on Tatum’s 18 points, was able to get a nice lead and won the quarter 36–29 to lead 66–57 at halftime.
Heats player Bam Adebayo walks to the rim while Jayson Tatum of the Celtics plays in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on May 17, 2023 in Boston. Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports
The Celtics extended their lead to 12 points early in the third, but in the blink of an eye, the Heat went on a 15–4 rally to lead by six for the first time on the night and end with 11 to win 46–25. With a brutal offense led by Butler with 27 in the quarter. Miami took a 102–91 lead.
The Heat’s 46 points are a franchise postseason record.
Boston started the last quarter with a 7–0 lead, but midway through the quarter, Miami led by nine and then began to stretch and shrink for the rest of the period.
The Heat played well and despite losing three minutes without scoring 25–20, they knew how to maintain their advantage and close out the game by winning by six.
Game 2 between the two contenders will take place on the same stage this Friday the 19th.