NBA: Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat sink Boston Celtics in OT, take Game 1 of Eastern finals

NBA: Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat sink Boston Celtics in OT, take Game 1 of Eastern finals

ORLANDO (REUTERS) – Jimmy Butler fought through traffic for the game-winning bucket with 12 seconds remaining in overtime as the Miami Heat edged the Boston Celtics 117-114 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday (Sept 15) night near Orlando.

Butler drew a foul on the play and made the free throw to put the Heat up 116-114. Bam Adebayo blocked Jayson Tatum’s attempt to tie the score with 3.7 seconds remaining, and after Adebayo made 1 of 2 at the free throw line, Tatum missed on a three-point attempt as time expired to seal the result.

Goran Dragic led the Heat with 29 points with seven rebounds, Jae Crowder added 22 and sunk five three-pointers, and Butler scored 20 for the Heat, who won for the ninth time in 10 playoff games. Adebayo had 18 points and nine assists.

Tatum had a game-high 30 points with 14 rebounds, Marcus Smart scored 26 and Kemba Walker had 19 for the Celtics. Walker put Boston up 114-113 on a step-back bucket with 23.6 seconds left in overtime.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series will take place Thursday.

The Celtics led by 14 early in the fourth quarter before the Heat got within 101-98 on a Tyler Herro 3-pointer with 3:17 remaining. Boston went up 105-100 on a shot-clock-beating floater by Walker with 1:09 left, but Herro drained another trey at 1:02 to cut the deficit to two.

A Butler step-back three made it 106-105 Heat with 22 seconds left, but Derrick Jones Jr. committed a foul before the ensuing inbound pass to allow Tatum to knot the score with a free throw as the Celtics retained possession.

Tatum missed a three-point attempt at the buzzer to force overtime.

Boston led 83-71 entering the fourth after Miami was held to a playoff-low 16 points in the third quarter. The Heat went 1 of 8 from three-point range in the period, undoing a scorching shooting performance in the second that had forged a 55-all halftime tie.

The Heat trailed by as much as 13 in the first quarter before outscoring the Celtics 37-29 in the second. Miami shot 68.1 percent in the second period, including 6 of 8 from beyond the arc.