Jimmy Butler Leads Heat to Another Upset Win in Game 1 vs. Celtics

Wednesday night in the 2023 NBA Playoffs saw the Eastern Conference Finals get underway between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics. Jimmy Butler again led the way for Miami to pull off a double-digit comeback win to take a 1-0 lead.

Back and Forth Affair

Jimmy Butler
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In one of the best games this postseason, there were 14 ties and lead changes on the night. Boston led by 13 points in the second quarter, but Miami dropped 46 points in the third quarter to take a 12-point lead into the fourth quarter.

Jimmy Butler was once again spectacular with 35 points on 12-of-25 shooting. He also added 5 rebounds, 7 assists, and 6 steals. Butler was one of six Miami players to make multiple 3-point shots in the game as the Heat were a red-hot 16-of-31 from deep. Boston was only 10-of-29 from 3, a surprisingly low-volume game from the Celtics.

Miami also had six players score at least 15 points, so it was a great team effort for the No. 8 seed. Even Bam Adebayo looked aggressive for the Heat in posting 20 points and 8 rebounds.

For Boston, Marcus Smart became the only player in the last 25 postseasons to have 10 assists and 1 or fewer field goal attempts at halftime. He would only have 1 assist in the second half, however.

Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum combined for 10 turnovers on what became a frustrating night for the duo. Brown shot just 1-of-6 from 3 and was cold in the fourth quarter. The Celtics also missed 7 free throws, including a pair from the usually reliable Malcolm Brogdon.

In the third quarter, Miami shot 65.4% from the field and 6-of-9 from 3-point territory. Max Strus came to life with 13 points in the quarter.

Butler Finishes for Miami

Despite the Heat taking a 103-91 lead into the fourth quarter, the Celtics quickly put pressure on them. A quick 7-0 run led to a timeout from Miami. The Celtics would again pull within 5 points later, down 114-109, but that was when they kept making too many mistakes to ice the game.

That was also when Butler put the game away for Miami. He had a couple of crucial steals in the fourth quarter, bringing his total to 6 in the game, a career high in his 108th playoff game.

Butler stole a pass from Tatum, who looked shaky down the stretch. Tatum finished with 30 points, but he was also called twice for travelling in the final two minutes, looking indecisive with the ball. All 6 of Tatum’s fourth-quarter points came from the free throw line as he did not register an official field goal attempt.

Butler hit the dagger with his second 3-point shot that bounced in with just over a minute left to make it 120-110. The Heat were an 8-point underdog, but they once again prevailed to bring their spread record to 9-3 this postseason.

The Heat are now 9-2 in Game 1s with Butler in the lineup.

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