The Heat need to win just two games to get to the NBA Finals.
The Celtics of Boston may be in jeopardy.
The Celtics’ poor start to the Eastern Conference Finals continued on Friday as they struggled in the second half of Game 1 on Wednesday night. With a 2-0 series lead heading into this weekend’s games in South Florida, the Miami Heat overcame a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Boston Celtics 111-105 at TD Garden.
With two more victories, the Heat will advance in the NBA Finals for the 1st time since 2020. They are a perfect 6-0 at their home arena this playoffs. When dropping the first two games of a series at home, NBA clubs have a 5-23 record in the series.
Jimmy Butler and the Heat Mount a Late Comeback to Defeat the Boston Celtics
On Friday night, the Bruins were in charge for the majority of the game and appeared poised for the victory.
After a slow start, the Celtics went on a tremendous run, outscoring the Hawks 21-2 to start the second quarter and take a double-digit lead. However, Miami responded with a 19-2 run of its own and went into halftime leading by four points. Caleb Martin, who started on the bench, scored 14 of his 25 points and made 6 of 9 field goal attempts in the opening half.
They were slow to get going after halftime, but Jayson Tatum took control in the third. He scored 15 points in the first, helping to give the Celtics an 8-point advantage going into halftime. They also held the Heat scoreless, outscoring them by 12 to 1, and holding them to just 1 of 7 from 3-point range.
The Celtics doubled their advantage early in the fourth quarter as they looked to erase the memory of their second-half meltdown in Game 1. Midway through the quarter, things turned heated between Jimmy Butler and Grant Williams as Butler swiftly brought the Heat within four points.
After a Duncan Robinson layup, the Heat were only down by two, but Butler scored twice in a row, including a dunk over Williams, to give Miami the lead for good.
Heat’s Late-Game Surge Propels Them to Victory and 2-0 Series Lead over Celtics
Jimmy Butler gives Miami the late lead 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/FGKxpJUc2S
— Alex 👋 (@Dubs408) May 20, 2023
With under a minute remaining, the Heat took a five-point lead thanks to an 18-4 run that was capped by a free throw from Max Strus and a huge put-back dunk from Bam Adebayo.
After Tatum made five free throws in the following 30 seconds to cut the deficit to 2, Gabe Vincent and Strus made four free throws between them to seal the victory and give the Clippers a 2-0 series lead. After Williams got in Jimmy Butler’s face, the Heat went on a 24-9 run to seal the victory.
Williams didn’t have any ill will against anyone else as a result.
“I respect him as a motherf**** player.”
Grant Williams addresses his confrontation with Jimmy Butler 🤝
— Ball Don’t Lie (@Balldontlie) May 20, 2023
Jimmy Butler scored 27 points, grabbed 8 boards, and dished out 6 assists to lead the Heat. With 22 points, 17 boards, and 9 dimes, Adebayo came close to a triple-double. Martin’s 25 points were also a postseason high for him.
Tatum had 34 points, 13 rebound, and 8 assists to lead the Celtics. Robert Williams scored 13 points and grabbed 3 boards, and Jaylen Brown scored 16 more.
On Sunday, Miami will host Game 3 of the series.
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