Miami Heat 117, Boston Celtics 114 (OT) — This is one of those “the Heat did enough to win the game” kind of games as opposed to a very strong performance from the Miami guys. Boston appeared to be ready to run away with this one, jumping out to a 12-3 lead in the first four minutes and eventually boosting that margin to as many as 13 when Marcus Smart canned a triple with 4:18 to go to make it 24-11.
But it’s a 48 minute game, of course, and after trailing by eight at the end of the first quarter and then letting the deficit drift back into double digits, Miami got going in the right direction. In just a shade over two minutes of game time, the Heat outscored the Celtics 13-2 and a floater from Jimmy Butler gave them their first lead of the game, 39-38. If you want, you could roll that stretch out to 26-10, as Jae Crowder gave Miami a six point lead, 52-46, with 2:11 left in the half.
Still, Boston was able to knot the game up by halftime. Miami pushed back into the lead at the start of the third, but by the end of the 12 minutes, it looked like it was all Boston all the time again. It was a 16-5 Celtics run to end the quarter, and Kemba Walker scored the first bucket of the fourth to make it an 85-71 lead for Boston. Not great for our guys!
That Walker bucket proved to be Boston’s biggest lead of the game, but Miami spent the fourth quarter chipping away at the lead. I do mean “the fourth quarter,” because it took until 22 seconds left in regulation for the Heat to overcome that 14 point lead, and they did it on a contested Jimmy Butler three-pointer to go up 106-105. A foul with the clock stopped gave Jayson Tatum a chance to shoot a free throw to tie it, but Tatum’s last second attempt to win missed. Free basketball!
The Celtics took the early lead, getting up four on a stepback by Walker, but a triple from Jae Crowder put Miami out in front, and a really nifty lead bounce pass from Tyler Herro to Bam Adebayo with just over two minutes left had the Heat up 113-110 on a 7-0 run. But Boston answered, and a stepback that looked an awful lot like the Cardiac Kemba in the Garden shot put Boston up 114-113 with 23.2 seconds left.
But Jimmy Butler is that dude, and he fought his way to the rack for the and-1 layup. His freebie gave Miami a two point lead, and Adebayo rejected the holy hell out of a Tatum dunk attempt to preserve the margin.
We are going to see that Adebayo block for years and years and years and years. Still, Boston had one final chance to tie it up, and even though Tatum fell down while trying to corral the inbounds pass, he still got the shot off. Had to rush it, though, and thus he missed a bit to the left.
Goran Dragic led the Heat with 29 points on the night, while Herro had a double-double on 12 points and 11 rebounds and juuuuuuuust missed a triple-double with nine assists. I feel like if you can put up a triple-double in the Eastern Conference Finals off the bench as a rookie, you might be able to stick in the NBA for a while. Butler put together a 20/5/5 with two steals, while Crowder had 22 points and five rebounds along with an assist, a steal, and two blocks.
Miami Heat 106, Boston Celtics 101 — Quarter #1: A good competitive basketball game with six lead changes and Boston leading 31-28 at the end. That’s fun, and right in line with how Game 1 ended, cool cool cool.
Quarter #2: NOT cool, not if you’re a Heat supporter. In roughly the middle six minutes of the quarter, Boston went on a 23-8 run to boom out to a 58-41 lead with 3:19 left in the half. Bad! Now, Miami would manage to improve that a bit by the end of the half, with Jimmy Butler getting a late fadeaway to make the deficit just 13 at intermission, and the first bucket of the third quarter was a Bam Adebayo alley oop from Goran Dragic to make it only 11. But the lead was back to 15 after a Marcus Smart layup, and so things looked kind of rough.
Miami has the Jimmy Butler mindset, though, and with 4:17 left in the third, Adebayo drained a floater to cap off a 20-4 run in five and a half minutes to put Miami up 72-71. How about that?
Game wasn’t close to over, though. The two sides would flip the lead back and forth before Miami led by seven at the end of the period, and a three from Jae Crowder early in the fourth would give the Heat their largest lead of the game, 87-79. Still not over. Boston fought back, and so Jaylen Brown tied the game at 89 before Jayson Tatum put the C’s back out in front, 91-89, on their next possession.
Still not over. After Kemba Walker put Boston up five with 4:25 to go, the Celtics would not connect on a field goal again until the 1:17 mark. That Brown triple cut Miami’s lead down to only four. That’s a 13-1 run by Miami in a bit over three minutes to seize control of this game. Even with the Heat having control, though, it still wasn’t over, as Brown hit another three on Boston’s next possession, and that made the final 49 seconds verrrrrrrrry taut with tension. Miami couldn’t put the ball in the bucket, but neither could the Celtics. Chances were there, and finally, Butler iced the game for the Heat with two clutch free throws with 7.4 seconds to go.
Only seven Heat players scored at all in this game, but six of them had at least 11 points. Dragic led with 25, while Jimmy Butler did Jimmy Butler things with 14 points, four rebounds, three assists, and four steals. Jae Crowder was just 4-for-12 from the field for 12 points, but 3-for-10 from behind the arc is good enough to get you where you want to be sometimes. Crowder also added four rebounds, two assists, and three steals. Seven steals is a lot for one team in one game, honestly, and Miami got that just from the two former Marquette stars.
Up Next: The series resumes on Saturday night. Miami will be looking to push their lead to 3-0 with a 7:30pm Central time tipoff on ESPN.