HEAT Earn Comeback Win Over Celtics, Take 2-0 Series Lead

Goran Dragić
Photo Credit: Jesse D. Garrabrant
by Joe Beguiristain

Thanks to a remarkable third quarter, the HEAT came back from an early 17-point deficit and ultimately defeated the Celtics 106-101 Thursday night at AdventHealth Arena in Orlando to take a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Naturally, Goran Dragić and Jimmy Butler were a huge reason why.

1. Dragić Breathes Fire Late

With Boston digging in defensively in the fourth, Dragić did what he’s often done late in big-time games.

Come through in the clutch.

All told, the Slovenian led Miami with nine points on 3-of-6 shooting in the final period and just would not be denied.

That also rang true earlier in the contest when Dragić utilized screens well and varied up his offensive approach with jumpers and finishes.

When it was all said and done, the 34-year-old vet tallied a game-high 25 points on 10-of-19 shooting, including 3-of-7 from deep, a game-high five assists (tied with Tyler Herro), three boards and a plus-10 rating.

2. Jimmy Seals It

Along with Bam Adebayo (more on him in just a bit), Butler helped change the complexion of the game in the second half due to some superb defense.

In particular, Butler wreaked havoc at the top of the zone with either Jae Crowder or Derrick Jones Jr. and neutralized Kemba Walker.

That manifested itself into three pivotal steals in the fourth, including the one that sealed the deal.

Just before that last one, Butler drilled two clutch free throws to make it a two-possession game with 7.4 seconds left.

Talk about making winning plays.

In all, Butler amassed 14 points on 4-of-11 shooting from the field and a perfect 6-of-6 from the line, four rebounds, a game-high four steals and three assists.

3. Bam Brings Miami Back

Although Adebayo played good help defense and fared well on switches in the first half, he was a little quiet on the offensive end.

Then the third quarter came around.

In the period, Adebayo was an absolute menace in the pick-and-roll, as he dove to the rim with force and threw it down time and time again to give the HEAT some life.

Ironically, one of his better plays of the night actually didn’t come off a PnR.

Per StatMuse, Adebayo had more dunks (five) in the third quarter than Boston had field goals (four).

Yes, you read that right.

Adebayo finished with 21 points (15 in the third) on 10-of-16 shooting, a game-high 10 boards, four assists, two steals, one block and a plus-eight rating.

Other Takeaways:

-Duncan Robinson got off to a red-hot start and led all players with 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting in the first quarter.

And even though he cooled off a bit from there, he still ran his routes with precision and continued to open things up for his teammates.

Robinson ended up with 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting (all from downtown), four assists, two rebounds, one block and a plus-seven rating.

-Once again, Herro did his thing off the bounce and came through with this crazy yo-yo dribble and lob to Adebayo late in the third:


Herro concluded with 11 points on 4-of-12 shooting, nine rebounds, a game-high five assists (tied with Dragić) and a steal.

Game Note:

-Kyle Alexander, KZ Okpala, Chris Silva (Left Pubic Bone Stress Fracture) and Gabe Vincent were inactive.

Looking Ahead:

-Game 3 will be on Saturday at 8:30 PM. You can catch the game exclusively on ESPN, but the FOX Sports Sun pre and postgame shows will be on HEAT.com.

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