Bam’s all-time great defensive effort was one of two game-winning plays that lifted the Heat to a 117-114 Game 1 win over Boston. What preceded it was Jimmy Butler’s and-one through the 6-8 frame of Jayson Tatum to give Miami a two-point lead.
“I think that’s my job to help us win games at any point in time, but definitely in the fourth, definitely in overtime. My teammates, my coaches, this organization has a lot of faith in me, so I try to pull through as often as I can.”Jimmy Butler, ESPN
Jimmy G Buckets did pull through on several occasions during Tuesday’s ECF opener. He also hit a fall away corner three to put the Heat up one with 22 seconds left in the regulation. Tatum tied the game after a made free throw, but his potential game-winning three hit the front of the rim, and so did his Hail Mary long-range jumper to send the game to double overtime.
Tatum was the Celtics’ leading scorer with 30, but his great two-way performance was diminished by his poor display in the clutch. Marcus Smart added 26, hitting 6 of his 13 long-range attempts, with Kemba Walker contributing with 19 points of his own.
Goran Dragić led the Heat balanced scoring output with 29 points, being one of five Miami players to score in double digits. Crowder had 22, Butler added 20, while Adebayo (18/6/9) and Tyler Herro (12,11,9) both racked up incredible all-around performances.
Miami’s win over Boston is Erik Spoelstra’s 80th postseason win, placing him tied-ninth on the all-time list of playoff wins. Thursday will be his chance to elevate that number even more, as his well-oiled machine will look to take a commanding 2-0 series lead.
But Boston sure won’t go down without the fight. That’s the thing about this series – it’s the battle of disciplined brands of defenses, who are well-coached and team-oriented, without a standout superstar on either roster. It isn’t your typical Conference Finals matchup, as we’re used to seeing more star-power that deep into the postseason. For hardcore basketball fans, this series is a treat, and Game 1 was the perfect overture to it.