NBA Playoffs: Butler on fire again as Heat blaze past Celtics

Miami, Florida - Jimmy Butler scored 41 points, including 27 in the second half, as the Miami Heat's third-quarter charge helped them to a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals with a 118-107 win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday.

Jimmy Butler (2nd from r.) dunks the ball during the Heat's win over the Celtics.
Jimmy Butler (2nd from r.) dunks the ball during the Heat's win over the Celtics.  © USA TODAY Sports

After trailing 62-54 at half-time, the Heat went on a 22-2 run early in the third quarter to storm ahead and never looked back from there. The Heat are 7-0 in the 2022 playoffs at FTX Arena.

Butler's 41-point haul was his sixth time in 12 playoff games where he has hit the 30-point mark. It was also his third 40-point night of these playoffs.

The Heat forward shot 12-of-19 from the floor, along with eight-of-11 in the second half, while he also had nine rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks in a remarkable all-round display.

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Butler becomes the first player this postseason with at least 30 points and four steals in multiple games.

Gabe Vincent (17 points, three assists, three blocks), Max Strus (11 points including three triples, four rebounds, two assists, two steals) and Tyler Herro (18 points, eight rebounds, three assists) all provided good support.

Celtics shoot blanks in second half

Bam Adebayo (c.) helped the Heat equal the franchise record for blocks in a playoff game.
Bam Adebayo (c.) helped the Heat equal the franchise record for blocks in a playoff game.  © USA TODAY Sports

The Celtics paid up big time for their 39-14 third quarter, along with their 11-of-34 three-point shooting, as they cooled off significantly in the second half.

Boston's two-of-15 (13%) third-quarter field goal shooting was their worst in any quarter over the last four seasons. The Celtics only managed four points in the paint in the second half, having scored 42 in the first.

Jayson Tatum top scored for Boston with 29 points with two-of-nine from beyond the arc along with eight rebounds, six assists and four steals.

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Jaylen Brown added 24 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists, but the absence of Marcus Smart (foot) and Al Horford (health and safety protocols) was felt.

The Heat were also missing veteran point guard Kyle Lowry due to a lingering hamstring issue.

Miami's 12 blocks for the game, led by center Bam Adebayo (10 points, four rebounds, four blocks), was a joint franchise record in the NBA Playoffs.

The teams stay in Miami for Game 2 on Thursday.

Cover photo: USA TODAY Sports

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