Butler, Herro lead Miami Heat to beat Boston Celtics 118-107 in Game 1
May 18, 2022
In the first 24 minutes, the Boston Celtics looked ready to lead the Eastern Conference Finals. However, in the third quarter, the Miami Heat crushed those hopes and reversed the position. The Heat led 39-14 in the quarter and eventually won the game 118-107 at the FTX Arena.
The Celtics led by 13 points in the first quarter but were then overtaken by the Heat's fast and agile play in the second half.
In the second quarter, Jimmy Butler scored 27 of his 41 points. Butler received praises from Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. He claimed that Butler played his greatest game in the league when he helped the Heat win.
Tyler Herro scored 18 points and Gabe Vincent added 17 to further beat the Celtics 39-14 in the third quarter. It was here that Butler scored another 17 points and individually put the Heat ahead of the Celtics for 12 minutes. The lead was furthered to 96-76 when Hero attempted a three-pointer and scored all three free throws at the start of the fourth quarter.
On the other hand, the Celtics scored 2-for-15 shots in the third quarter. The Celtics bounced back in the fourth quarter and began to give maximum performance to match the stellar display of the Heat. However, when the score reached 39-14 at 2-for-15, the drop in performance was difficult to overcome.
The Celtics raced to the left with a 10-0 scoreline that cut the points deficit and made Jayson Tatum's three-pointer a nine-pointer game. Unfortunately, the game only had 7 minutes left so the Celtics failed to catch up.
Celtics' record faltering
The whole Celtics team looked drained and began to lose focus as the Heat increased their defensive intensity. This made it harder for the Celtics to get a more measured approach to their shots.
The Celtics' poor performance made their defense weaker and the Heat was able to cut their lead by tens of points to close Game 1 with a win.
The absence of Marcus Smart and Al Horford was quite surprising. Smart reportedly sprained his foot in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday.
Smart's absence is quite worrying because he has just landed a position as an NBA Defender, thanks to his consistent performance on the field this year.
Horford, meanwhile, reportedly entered the league's health and safety protocol on 17 May. This kept Horford out of Game 1 and possibly more. The former Celtics All-Star is a brilliant playoff player, averaging 13 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 3.4 assists.
Moreover, the Celtics also lost center Robert Williams III due to a leg cramp. Williams helped his side to slowed down the Heat before he left the court with six minutes remaining on the clock.