The Miami Heat swept the Indiana Pacers and shocked the Milwaukee Bucks. They fought back against the Boston Celtics in the opening game of the Eastern Conference Finals. Miami started the series at the wrong end of an 8-0 run, scoring 13 points in the first quarter, and looked outright confused about the attack. But in the end, he escaped with a 117-114 victory in overtime after Jimmy Butler’s clutch play and Bam Adebayo’s amazing block.
Butler attacked the basket against Jason Tatum and scored with arms outstretched, fouled in the process, and Miami had 12 seconds left. In the next possession, Tatum drove against Butler and tried to dunk, but Adebayo met him on the rim and swatted the ball. Then Tatum missed the desperate 3-pointer on the buzzer.
With 22 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Butler hit corner 3 to give the Heat 1 point, but after a timeout, Derek Jones Jr. committed an unfair foul on the ball before the Celtics inbound. In overtime, Kemba Walker hit the stepback jumper for 23.2 seconds before Butler and Adebayo saved the day for Miami.
Butler scored 20 points on 7-for-14 shots, but the hit’s most important offensive player was Goran Dragic, who scored 29 points on 11-for-19 shots. Miami beat Boston 35-35 in the final frame and 11-8 in overtime.
Tatum added 30 points in 24 at-bats and 10 at-bats, while Marcus Smart added 26 points in 18 at-bats and 9 at-bats, but Walker had 6 at-bats with 19 at-bats. Miami tried to get Walker out of the rhythm with a combination of two or three zones, trapping and transitions. It worked well enough this time.
Here are three points:
One of Miami director Erik Spoelstra’s pet phrases is “whatever it is.” He likes to talk about how the playoff competition tests you and forces you to react when things don’t go well. This is why he imagines it will be his favorite win in Heat’s playoffs match. Miami was initially trapped in the mud, dealing with defenses that functioned completely differently from Milwaukee. Stumbled aggressively again after halftime, but stuck.
If you hear about “thermal culture” and don’t hear how much these players believe in themselves, I fully understand. But they bought it all and neither team makes a comeback like this without a certain degree of confidence. Early in the second quarter, Dragic was the only Miami player who made it all happen, but almost everyone on the floor made a significant contribution.
Once again, Jae Crowder punished his opponent whenever he was open behind the arc. The forward finished with 22 points in 11 at-bats and 7 at-bats, including 5 at-bats in the deep. Tyler Herro also scored a pair of three-point shots in the second half of the fourth quarter, and Butler and Adebayo’s winning play was a combination of cleverness, strength, and willpower.
At a post-match Zoom meeting, Spoelstra pointed out that Adebayo hadn’t had a good offensive flow, but had found a way to put his fingerprints into the game anyway.
“It could be a poster dunk,” Spoelstra said. “And a lot of people aren’t willing to play that play when Jason Tatum gets to the launch pad and won’t put himself on my own. He’s saved a tremendous amount of time for us. Tatum is like he has an open lane up to the rim. And sometimes when there’s such a fierce competition, you have to create a play that is really inexplicable.”
2. This Dragic stuff is not new
In the regular season, Goran Dragic averaged 16.2 points with 57.3% real shots with 5.1 assists and 3.2 rebounds. He played 28.2 minutes in the match as much as Heat’s sixth man, but per minute he was just as productive as when he made the All-NBA 3 team in 2013-14 with the Phoenix Suns.
In the first two rounds of this year’s playoffs, Dragic averaged 21.1 points on 56.2% real shots, with 4.7 assists and 4.4 rebounds in 34.7 minutes. It may have felt like Dragic has reached another level recently, but in fact he essentially maintained his level in a bigger role. Rather than running a show when Butler goes to the bench, Spoil Strah defended him, Butler and Adebayo at the same time at the opening tip, making each even more dangerous.
In the second quarter on Tuesday, Dragic scored 11 points on a six-and-a-half five-off shot, and continued to hold a hit when the Celtics were dominating the match. This gave the team some time to settle in Miami.
“It was really important because we couldn’t do anything,” Spoelstra said. “And that’s a big credit for their defense. They got us out of our normal rhythm. It’s not about us, it’s what they do. And Goran was able to swing freely a few times and score on the board. Q2 I have a little confidence in it.”
It wasn’t as memorable or spectacular as the play made by Butler and Adebayo, but with three and a half minutes left in overtime, Dragic fouled Boston’s big man Daniel Theis. Heat hasn’t yet scored in an extra frame, and Celtics has raised 4 increments after Walker’s step back jumper. Dragic not only killed Boston’s thrust, but also fouled Theis in the game.
Spoelstra said, “Many ordinary fans don’t know if he’s a competitor and it’s been his entire career.” “And we are talking not only in the US but also abroad. [FIBA European] Two years before the championship, you need people who know what it is and how difficult it is. You need a veteran, experienced winner to stabilize you, especially when there are young players we’re counting on. And that’s Goran. “
3. Celtics’ attack has come alive again.
This will be lost because of the way the game ends. However, after seven rock fights with the Toronto Raptors, Boston found a bit of an aggressive rhythm. Celtics scored 116.5 points per Cleaning The Glass in this defeat. This is better than managed in any match of the second round and better than the regular season record. It’s never been easier to play against a hit team that’s been defending phenomenal throughout the playoffs.
Boston was blessed with Smart’s hot shoot, but a more meaningful development was the return of Tatum’s three-point shot. He hit 12 at 4 at-bats deep, and the most important number is 12. Unlike the series against Toronto, the little guard was often kicked out, but Tatum was relatively easy to make room against the Miami defenders.
Celtics mainly has a few things to figure out about how they want to deal with the 2-3rd zone and Adebayo’s switch to Walker. However, in the general sense, their attacks looked healthy and everything will be a little easier when Gordon Hayward returns to Game 2 on Thursday.
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