Celtics @ Heat – Game 2: Can Jimmy Butler repeat Game 1 success? | NBA News

Jimmy Butler doesn’t like to be called a goalscorer.

It doesn’t matter that the nickname seems appropriate. He’s averaging nearly 30 points per game in the playoffs, hit the 40-point mark three times in his last 10 games after having zero regular-season games since 2017, and carried the Miami Heat over the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

But say “scorer” to him, and he’ll scoff in disdain.

“I’ve been a quote-scoring scorer at other times in my career, and it hasn’t worked out very well for me,” Butler said.

Things have gone very well so far in this post-season for Butler and the top-seeded Heat, who will be looking to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern title series when they host again. the second-seeded Celtics on Thursday. night. It won’t be easy: The Celtics are 3-0 after losses in these playoffs, winning those rebound games by an average of 14.7 points and earning two of those wins on the road.

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Highlights from Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat

The Celtics are hoping Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart (sprained midfoot) will be back for Game 2, listing him as likely for Thursday night. Boston was also without forward Al Horford (health and safety protocols) for Game 1 — he’s uncertain for Game 2. And coach Ime Udoka was ill Wednesday with a non-COVID illness.

“We have a lot of confidence,” Celtics center Daniel Theis said Wednesday as his team gathered for a movie screening.

The Heat are also struggling with injuries: point guard Kyle Lowry will miss Game 8 of the playoffs with a hamstring problem. His replacement, Gabe Vincent — the Heat are 7-0 in this postseason when he starts — is questionable with a hamstring issue, as is fellow starter Max Strus.

Game 1 was a 118-107 loss for the Celtics on Tuesday night, although Boston pointed out after the game that the combined first, second and fourth quarter scores totaled Celtics 93, Heat 79.

That pesky third quarter, however, counted.

A 39-14 run by Miami in those 12 minutes – Butler had 17 points in that quarter alone, beating the Celtics single-handedly – ​​overturned the entire game, and the Heat never saw their lead reduced. less than nine in the final quarter.

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The Miami Heat improved dramatically after halftime as a massive third propelled the hosts to victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 1.

“Expect us to play better,” said Boston forward Jayson Tatum, who recorded six turnovers in the game-winning quarter. “Expect me to play a lot better.

In other words, he expects to reach a higher level.

Butler is already there.

He is averaging 29.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.3 steals in this postseason on 53.5% shooting. Since the NBA began charting each of these stats, no one has finished a postseason with this much average in each category while shooting this well. And Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has a simple reason Butler is in this space.

“Increased attention to detail,” Spoelstra said. “But again, I don’t want to go into a long dissertation on this. If you’re driven by competition and the stakes go up, you’re going to raise your level of play. It’s not about trying to getting bigger is about doing what is necessary. And this level is high level, this competition, and he feels it, and he knows it. He feels it.”

Butler went 17 of 18 from the foul line in Game 1. The only player to make or take more free throws in a game against Boston this season was Kevin Durant – who was 18 of 20 for Brooklyn in Game 2 of the first-round series between the Celtics and the Nets.

“He’s comfortable,” Boston’s Jaylen Brown said of Butler. “He’s very comfortable right now, and we have to do a better job of breaking the rhythm he’s in. That’s all. We have to rise to the challenge.”

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Miami Heat’s Jimmy Butler says his team did the job as they progressed to the Eastern Conference Finals after beating the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 6

Butler’s last regular-season 40-point game came on Jan. 25, 2017, for Chicago – three franchises and over five years ago. But he’s played five such playoff games since arriving in Miami, the first two entering the bubble two years ago when he carried the Heat to the NBA Finals. The other three were last month, when he carried the Heat again, despite his insistence that he carried no one.

“I don’t care if it’s a big stage or a small stage or who’s watching,” Butler said. “I do what I do for my family, for my people, for my organization and for my teammates. That’s all. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big stage, home or away. I know why I’m doing what I do.”

Boston Celtics @ Miami Heat – Game 2 (Live on Sky Sports Arena & Main Event from 1:30 a.m.)

At the end of the line : The Miami Heat host the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals with a 1-0 series lead. The Heat won the final game 118-107 on May 18 led by 41 points from Jimmy Butler, while Jayson Tatum scored 29 points for the Celtics.

The Heat went 35-17 against Eastern Conference teams. Miami is eighth in the Eastern Conference with 110.0 points and 46.7 percent shooting from the field.

The Celtics are 33-19 against Eastern Conference opponents. Boston is ninth in the Eastern Conference with 11.1 quick break points per game led by Jaylen Brown with an average of 3.2.

Great performances: Tyler Herro is averaging 20.7 points per game and averaging 5.0 rebounds for the Heat. Butler is averaging 29.1 points and 8.2 rebounds over Miami’s last 10 games.

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler shoots from the free throw line during the second half of Game 1 against the Boston Celtics
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Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler shoots from the free throw line during the second half of Game 1 against the Boston Celtics

Tatum is scoring 26.9 points per game with 8.0 rebounds and 4.4 assists for the Celtics. Brown is averaging 22.3 points and 7.3 rebounds while shooting 47.5% in Boston’s last 10 games.

Last 10 games: The Miami Heat went 7-3, averaging 106.6 points, 42.0 rebounds, 21.8 assists, 8.1 steals and 3.9 blocks per game while shooting 45.9% since the ground. Their opponents are averaging 98.3 points per game.

The Boston Celtics have gone 6-4, averaging 107.1 points, 41.6 rebounds, 24.7 assists, 6.5 steals and 6.5 blocks per game while shooting 44.7% since field. Their opponents average 101.7 points.

Injuries: Kyle Lowry is out with an injured hamstring for the Miami Heat. For the visiting Celtics, Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart is day-to-day (foot) and Sam Hauser is out (shoulder).

The rush for live NBA playoff games continues on Sky Sports this week – see the list of games here and subscribe to watch the action live.

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