It’s safe to say the Miami Heat are a bit more competitive with Jimmy Butler back in their lineup.
Two nights after the Celtics beat the Heat by 13 points, Butler returned to Miami’s lineup Friday night and led the Heat to a win. He had missed the team’s last seven games due to a knee injury, but upon his return, looked like his normal self, and that included his typical clutch ways.
After Jaylen Brown hit a miracle 3-pointer to send the game to overtime, Butler seemed to drain every shot the Heat needed in order to end Boston’s five-game win streak.
He hit one from the free-throw line at the 1:45 mark of overtime while Jaylen Brown was contesting the shot from behind and Al Horford was contesting the shot from right in front of him. That shot broke a 114-114 tie.
The next dagger arrived with 9.4 seconds left. Prior to the shot, Butler found himself in an isolation situation with Horford as his defender on the right wing. Butler couldn’t shake Horford yet still decided to fire up a pullup jumper from 17 feet out, with Horford draped all over him. Still, somehow, he found the bottom of the net to push Miami ahead 120-116.
Butler’s final basket of the game essentially ended the contest. Boston had no way to make up four points in that short amount of time and wound up falling by a count of 120-116.
Jaylen Brown carried the Celtics on a night during which the team as a whole just didn’t have its A-game. Brown set new season highs with 37 points and 14 rebounds, while no other member of the team scored more than 18 points.
The path Brown took to his big scoring night was impressively efficient. He canned 12 of his 23 shots from the field, including a 5-for-11 effort from long range. One of his 3-pointers was a miracle shot that banked in and tied the game with 2.3 seconds left in regulation, giving the C’s one last chance to turn things around and grab a win during overtime.
Clearly, Boston was unable to come out on top, but that doesn’t take away from Brown’s stellar performance. He carried the Celtics throughout his 45-plus minutes of action – and they needed every bit of his season-best performance to have a chance at a win.
Box Score Nuggets
- Jaylen Brown (14) and Jayson Tatum (12) combined to grab 26 of Boston's 48 rebounds on the night.
- Brown's 37 points and 14 rebounds were both season highs.
- The Celtics tied their season high with 20 turnovers.
- Jimmy Butler grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds while also scoring 25 points.
- Grant Williams led all reserves with 18 points. He outscored Miami's entire bench 18-11.
- Marcus Smart lethe game with nine assists and also scored 18 points.
- Four Heat players scored at least 20 points, led by 28 from Bam Adebayo and 26 from Tyler Herro.
- Miami notched 22 second-chance points.
- Boston outscored Miami 20-4 in fast break points.
Quote of the Night
"I thought our crunch-time offense was good. I thought we got good looks. I just thought they made a few more plays than we did."- Joe Mazzulla on the Celtics' execution down the stretch