Keys to the Game: Heat 118, Celtics 107

Marc D'Amico
Team Reporter and Analyst

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Key Moment

All was well in Celtics Land at halftime of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Not so much after the next 12 minutes were played.

Following an outstanding first half by Boston that led to an eight-point advantage, Miami bounced back and dominated the third quarter to turn the tide of the game and pull away for a victory.

The Heat outscored Boston 39-14 during the third period thanks to an ugly performance by the C’s at both ends. Boston shot just 2-for-15 from the field during the quarter while committing eight turnovers. Those eight turnovers led to 12 points by Miami.

While Boston struggled offensively, the Heat had no problems racking up points. They shot 11-for-22 from the field and a whopping 14-for-17 from the free-throw line during the quarter. To put that into perspective, Boston made 14 or fewer free throws during three of their previous five entire games.

The combination of Boston’s struggles and Miami’s exceptional play was a recipe for disaster for the C’s. Miami pulled ahead by 17 points heading into the final quarter, marking a 25-point turnaround during the third. The Heat went on to pull ahead by as many as 20 and remained in control until the final buzzer of a 118-107 victory.

Key Player

Robert Williams returned Tuesday night from a four-game absence to log an outstanding performance during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Not only did he score 18 points, but he also grabbed nine boards during his 28-plus minutes of action.

Those 18 points from Williams marked his top scoring effort since way back on Dec. 22, when he scored 21 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers. So Tuesday’s effort was not only his highest scoring effort in months, but it was actually his best scoring effort of the year. The big man shot a strong 6-for-8 from the field and 6-for-7 from the free-throw line to account for his points.

Williams’ nine rebounds trailed only Jaylen Brown’s 10 in the game. He also tallied two blocks and an assist.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Four Celtics scored at least 18 points, led by Jayson Tatum's 29.
  • Jimmy Butler was outstanding at both ends, tallying 41 points, nine rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocked shots.
  • Miami shot 30-for-34 from the free-throw line.
  • The Heat scored 19 points off of Boston's 16 turnovers.
  • Both teams led by at least 13 points.
  • Payton Pritchard and Tyler Herro tied for the game's top scoring mark off the bench with 18 points apiece.
  • Jaylen Brown logged the game's only double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds.
  • Three Heat players - Bam Adebayo (four), Jimmy Butler (three) and Gabe Vincent (three) .
  • Aaron Nesmith logged his first significant playoff minutes of the season with 11-plus minutes of action, and he led Boston with three blocked shots.
  • No player in the game dished out more than six assists.
  • Butler shot 17-of-18 from the free-throw line.

Quote of the Night

Ime Udoka on the positives he takes from the Game 1 loss