Jimmy Butler hits game-winner, Bam stuffs Tatum and Heat beats Celtics in Game 1 of ECF

Jimmy Butler did it again.

Bam Adebayo did it even better.

In the final seconds of overtime in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Miami Heat’s two All-Stars lifted the Heat to a 117-114 win against the Boston Celtics. Butler put Miami ahead with an and-one with 12 seconds left, then Adebayo blocked Jayson Tatum on the other end to seal the Heat’s victory in Lake Buena Vista

With 12 seconds left and the Miami trailing by a point, Butler muscled his way to the rim from the top of the key against Tatum and finished through contact for an and-one to put the Heat ahead 115-114. After trailing by 14 points in the fourth quarter, Miami — somehow — was ahead with the clock ticking away.

On the other end, Adebayo sealed the win. Tatum went back at Butler and beat him off the dribble. The All-Star forward tried flush home a game-tying dunk and Adebayo met him at the rim, stuffing his shot and grabbing the rebound. The Celtics fouled Adebayo, who made 1 of 2 free throws, then Tatum missed a three-pointer at the buzzer.

“At the end of the day, man, you’ve just got to make a play,” Adebayo said. “I did that.”

Miami was down 13 points in the first quarter, 14 points in the fourth and still heads into Game 2 of the Conference Finals in at Walt Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex with a 1-0 series lead on Boston.

Butler finished with 20 points, five assists and two steals, and also made the Heat’s biggest shot in regulation to force overtime at Walt Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

With 22 seconds left, the All-Star wing wound up with the ball in the right corner. He pump faked once and then fired with confidence. Butler, a non-shooter for most of the regular season, drilled a go-ahead three through chaos to put Miami ahead 106-105 for its first lead in the final period.

The Celtics took a timeout to advance the ball and the Heat gifted Boston overtime. Forward Derrick Jones Jr. ran over Boston guard Marcus Smart before the Celtics inbounded the ball, giving Boston a free throw and possession. Tatum hit the free throw to tie the game at 106-106, then missed a 27-foot three-pointer at the buzzer to send Game 1 to overtime.

Adebayo finished 18 points, nine assists, six rebounds and two blocks. Rookie wing Tyler flirted with a triple-double with 12 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Guard Goran Dragic led the way with 29 points, including 16 points in the first half. Forward Jae Crowder scored 22 and went 5 of 9 from three-point range.

The Celtics kept almost putting away Miami, but the Heat always had an answer.

With 3:07 left in the first quarter, Miami dug deep into its bench to try to climb out of a 24-13 hole. Guard Kendrick Nunn, wing Andre Iguodala, post player Kelly Olynyk and Herro flanked Butler — a lineup the Heat hadn’t used all postseason — and the the turnaround began.

Defense fueled Miami for the rest of the period and the Heat cut Boston’s lead to 26-18 at the start of the second quarter. Even after shooting a 27.3 percent from the field in the first quarter, Miami had kept the deficit manageable. A second-quarter explosion sent the Heat into halftime tied 55-55.

Miami followed its worst shooting quarter of the 2020 NBA playoffs with its best, connecting on 68.3 percent of shots in the second. Guard Goran Dragic scored 16 points in the first half, including 11 in the second quarter. Adebayo handed out five assists in the second alone. Herro, who only scored two points in the half, went into halftime with six rebounds and six assists. Miami outscored the Celtics by 11 in the first half when Iguodala was on the court.

At the end of the third quarter, the Heat nearly faded again.

After Herro went coast-to-coast for a Euro step layup to cut Boston’s lead to 70-69 with 2:40 left, Boston closed the period on a 13-2 run as Miami committed a technical foul, had one shot blocked and gave away a pair of turnovers.

The Heat again scraped back. Dragic scored nine in the fourth quarter and dished out four assists, and Adebayo scored eight. Herro and Butler, though, scored the final eight to force overtime. Herro drilled a 28-foot three to cut the lead to 105-103 with 1:02 left, and then Butler his from the corner to force overtime and add an unlikely comeback to Miami’s unlikely run through the NBA playoffs.

“You just put the ball in your best players’ hands,” coach Erik Spoelstra said, “and they have got to make a play.”