Jimmy Butler went against his head coach’s wishes Tuesday night at FTX Arena, but the star guard’s decisions were paramount in the Heat’s comeback win over the Celtics. After Miami had taken an eight-point lead over Boston midway through the third quarter, Butler jumped the route on a Jayson Tatum pass intended for Jaylen Brown. The six-time All-Star finished the job on the other end, knocking down a turnaround jumper to push his team’s lead to 10.
Injured Celtics guard Marcus Smart did his best to rally his team after a nightmare third quarter against the Heat in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, but it was too little too late.
During a particularly ugly stretch, Tatum gave away three consecutive possessions to live ball turnovers and transition points on the other end. We got caught up in the physicality and tried to draw fouls rather than making the right read,” head coach Ime Udoka said. Miami finished 4th in the regular season in defensive efficiency, in part to their physical defense on the perimeter and ability to close out on shooters.