In the FTX Arena and for Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals , Miami beat Boston 118-107 .
Despite the sensitive absences of Al Horford (coronavirus) and Marcus Smart (sprained right foot), the Celtics started better and went on to enjoy a 13-point lead in the second quarter.
However, the Heat woke up in the third period, which they dominated by a resounding 39-14 run. Jimmy Butler, the game’s top scorer with 41 points -he was also key on the other side of the court with four steals and three blocks-, appeared at his best when his team needed him most.
Jimmy Butler serves up a REJECTION ❌
Just under 3 mins remaining on ESPN pic.twitter.com/DS3nH3japE
— NBA (@NBA) May 18, 2022
In addition, the collective defense of the local team also shone, which completely extinguished the rival offense (the visit ended with 16 losses and just over 45% effectiveness from the field).
Led by Jayson Tatum (29 units) and Jaylen Brown (24), those led by Ime Udoka tried to force a close ending, but it was not enough against Butler’s stellar night, who dominated the game with his aggressiveness towards the basket (17/ 18 free throws).
Robert Williams and Payton Pritchard added 18 points each and helped compensate for the losses of Horford and Smart, who are in doubt for the next meeting, which will be played next Thursday.