Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo came up clutch as Miami pulled off a 117-114 overtime victory over Boston to take Game 1 of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals in the NBA on Tuesday (Wednesday morning in the Philippines).
Butler drained a layup and completed the and-one off Jayson Tatum’s foul to hand the Heat a 116-114 lead with 12 seconds remaining.
Adebayo then swatted away Tatum’s dunk attempt before sinking a free throw with 2.5 ticks left.
The Celtics had a chance to send the game to a second extension play, but Tatum, who missed a potential-game winning triple in the regulation, misfired another crucial three-point shot.
“Bam’s been our savior on that end so many different times throughout the year,” said Butler in the post-game presser.
Butler wound up with 20 points, five rebounds, and five assists while Adebayo finished with 18 markers, nine dimes, and six boards.
Goran Dragic led the Heat with 29 points, seven rebounds, and four assists, Jae Crowder, poured 22 markers, and rookie Tyler Herro added 12 points.
Tatum tallied a 30-point, 14-rebound double-double while Marcus Smart had 26 points for the Celtics, who saw their seven series-opener win streak end as they blew double-digit leads in the game.
Meanwhile, Denver wrote history after taking down the powerhouse Los Angeles Clippers in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals, 104-89.
The Nuggets overcame another 1-3 series deficit, making them the first-ever team to buck such a disadvantage in the same postseason.
Denver, which also upset Utah in a comeback fashion, clinched its first conference finals spot since 2009 and arranged a duel against the Lebron James-powered Los Angeles Lakers.
Jamal Murray continued to be a breakout star in the playoffs as he erupted for 40 points on top of five assists and four rebounds while Nikola Jokic put up a triple-double with 16 markers, 22 boards, and 13 dimes.
Los Angeles’ star duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George struggled, with the former scoring 14 points and the latter having only ten markers, as the Clippers squandered a chance to enter the conference finals for the eighth time.