NBA: Jimmy Butler scored 41 as a hit down Celtic in Game 1

Jimmy Butler # 22 of the Miami Heat celebrates a basket with Gabe Vincent # 2 against the Boston Celtics in the third quarter of Game One of the 2022 NBA Playoff Eastern Conference Final at the FTX Arena on May 17, 2022 in Miami, Florida. Michael Reeves / Getty Images / AFP

In the Eastern Conference Finals, Jimmy Butler was supposed to co-star with Jason Tatum of Boston, but the Miami hit standout game 1 rearranged the speculation in a one-hero script.

The day after Tatum signaled to the kind of player he wanted to compete with, Butler stole the show. He scored 17 of his 41 points in an epic third-quarter rebellion to help the host hit rally for a 118-107 win over Celtic in the opening match of the series on Tuesday night.

Butler also helped Miami to a 13-point, second-quarter deficit with nine rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocked shots.

“MVP Jimmy did his job,” said hit guard Tyler Hero. “He put us on his back tonight. We will need other people throughout the series to help Jimmy. ”

Game 2 is Thursday night in Miami.

The 40-point effort was the fifth in a three-season post-season with Butler’s hit. The only player with seven is franchise icon Dwayne Wade.

“I know what I’m capable of, I don’t do it to score 40 points,” Butler said of his third 40-point outing this post season. “The way I play the way I play all the way I need to win and it just so happened that I scored 40. If I score 40 and lose, I’ll be fine (ticked).”

Miami coach Eric Spoilstra says Butler has come under the spotlight in the conference final showcase.

“The competition is high and he feels it,” said Spoelstra. “He knew it and felt it and he was able to feel comfortable that we could win this game tonight.”

The Heat beat Boston 39-14 in the third quarter to take a 93-6 lead into the final and turn the game around.

Hero registered 18 points and eight rebounds and Gabe Vincent scored 17 points for Miami.

Tatum recorded 29 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four steals but also seven turnovers.

“I had a lot of turnover,” Tatum said. “It simply came to our notice then. I have to take care of the ball. “

Jillian Brown added 24 points and 10 rebounds, third Robert Williams added 18 points and nine rebounds, and Payton Pritchard also added 18 points for Boston.

The Celtics played without the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart (right foot) and Al Harford (COVID-19 protocol). Williams started in place of Harford, returning from a four-match absence due to a left knee injury.

The hit without Kyle Lori (left hamstring) for the seventh time in the last nine games.

Max Strauss scored 11 points and left Adebayo added 10 points and four blocked shots for Miami. Heat shot 48.8 percent from the field, including 10 of 30 from the 3-point range.

Boston made 45.6 percent off the field and was 11 of 34 from behind the arc.

Miami started the third quarter 22-2 and made an eight-point halftime deficit to lead 76-64. Boston failed to score a field goal until the first 7:07 of the period.

The Celtics finished the quarter with a 17-3 lead to hold on to the 17-point edge, after scoring nine straight points to advance to three. Boston has shot only 13.3 percent (2 of 15) from the field during this period.

“It’s reversed very quickly,” said Celtics coach Ime Vodoka. “We’ve lost our temper – it’s hard to beat 39-14 (shooting) in 2-of-15. We had a poor quarter that hurt us. It’s disappointing that we came out as flat as we are. “

Hero was fouled during a 3-pointer shot and made three free throws to give Miami a 96-76 lead with 10:45 remaining in the contest. Boston answered directly with 10 points and Grant Williams’ two free throws at 96:26 with 8:21 remaining.

3:18 Strauss hit a 13-point lead after 3-pointers to the left, but the Celtics scored eight of the next 10 points, pulling Pritchard’s Trey Boston 1:29 with 114-107 remaining.

Vincent’s two free throws and Butler’s layup won for Miami.

Tatum scored 21 points in the first half as Boston led 62-54 at the break. The Celtics fired 59.1 percent from half-time. Miami 48.8 percent shot.

“I think we somehow got away from what we were doing,” Tatum said. “It’s something we need to be aware of on Thursday.”

Field level media

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