‘Let’s make it a cage fight’: Miami Heat shock Boston Celtics to level first-round playoff series

The Miami Heat stunned the Boston Celtics 111-101 at TD Garden on Wednesday to level their first-round playoff series at 1-1.

The Heat, playing without injured talisman Jimmy Butler, knocked down a franchise playoff record of 23 three-pointers to upset the Celtics, with Tyler Herro hitting six of them to lead the team in scoring with 24 points.

Herro also recorded 14 assists, while teammate Bam Adebayo also notched a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds.

The Heat also got a big night from Caleb Martin, who matched Adebayo’s 21 points, including making five of his six three-point attempts.

After a beatdown by the Celtics in Game 1, few would have expected such a drastic turnaround in Game 2.

However, this is the Heat, a team used to pulling off the improbable, and Miami fans will perhaps start to feel confident of emulating last season’s incredible playoff run, when the team reached the NBA Finals after entering via the play-in.

Herro admitted the team “lost bad” in the series opener but was proud of how “everybody responded” on Wednesday night.

“We’ve been doubted a lot through our playoff runs, people saying we couldn’t do a lot of stuff that we [eventually] did,” Adebayo added, per ESPN.

“So for me and my team, why lose belief now? Our backs are against the wall. Everybody’s against us. So just use that as fuel.

Tyler Herro knocked down six three-pointers for Miami. - Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images
Tyler Herro knocked down six three-pointers for Miami. - Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images

“Our guys believe we can win. So, let’s make it mano a mano – a cage fight. Let’s hoop.”

Feeling confident, Butler posted a photo on Instagram of his face photoshopped onto Celtics star Jaylen Brown’s body. Beneath is Brown’s quote from last season’s Conference Finals when the Celtics were 3-0 down to the Heat: “Don’t let us get one.”

The Heat eventually won the series in seven.

Brown scored a game high 33 points for the Celtics, with Jason Tatum adding 28.

The teams now head to Miami to play the first of two games on Saturday.

OKC hammer the Pelicans

Elsewhere, the youthful Oklahoma City Thunder thrashed the New Orleans Pelicans 124-92 to open up a 2-0 series lead.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored a game high and a personal playoff high 33 points on 68.4% shooting, while Chet Holmgren added 26 points and Jalen Williams 21 points.

The Pelicans, still without Zion Williamson due to a hamstring injury picked up during the play-in, were led by 19 points from big man Jonas Valančiūnas, while Brandon Ingram and Herb Jones each added 18 points.

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