Asked early in the season about being on a one-star Heat team, Jimmy Butler flipped the question.
“This is a team of one star?” Butler said. “Who is that? Bam?”
Miami’s one-two star punch was on full display Tuesday. Butler made the game-winning three-point play then Bam Adebayo blocked Jayson Tatum at the rim in the Heat’s 117-114 overtime win over the Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.
No. 5 seed Miami is the lowest-seeded team to win a conference finals game since the eighth-seeded Knicks in 1999. The fifth-seeded Grizzlies got swept in 2013.
Butler made the go-ahead 3-pointer with 22 seconds left in the fourth quarter, overcoming a 14-point deficit earlier in the period. But before the ensuing inbound, Derrick Jones Jr. fouled Marcus Smart while fighting through a screen. Tatum made the free throw to force overtime.
That’s Heat time.
Miami is now 9-2 in overtime during the regular season and playoffs. Only the 2002-03 Pistons (10-0) have won so many overtime games in a season.
Butler (20 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals) and Adebayo (18 points, nine assists, two blocks and a steal) certainly did their parts. But the Heat looked like more than a two-star team tonight.
Goran Dragic (29 points, seven rebounds and four assists), Jae Crowder (22 points on 5-of-9 3-point shooting) and Tyler Herro (12 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists) all stepped up.
Miami stalled early, settling for difficult jumpers. The Heat improved their ball movement and cutting then, while getting better looks, rode through hot and cold shooting.
Behind Tatum (30 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks) and Marcus Smart (26 points on 6-of-13 shooting), Boston was steadier. Brad Wanamaker (11 points, six assists and five steals) provided a nice boost off the bench.
But Miami came out just ahead in Game 1 of what’s shaping up to be a tight series.