Miami Heat strike first against Celtics in East finals behind Butler’s masterclass

The Miami Heat rallied in the second half to defeat the Boston Celtics 123-116 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday night, led by Jimmy Butler's 35 points, including 20 after the break.

Miami trailed by nine points at the half before coming back and outscoring Boston 66-50 over the remaining two quarters, setting a franchise playoff record with 46 points in the third.

Butler had 30 or more points in his fifth postseason game, and he also had seven assists, six steals, and five rebounds.

In addition, Bam Adebayo had 20 points and 8 rebounds. The other 15 points came from Kyle Lowry, Caleb Martin, Gabe Vincent, and Max Strus. The Heat made 16 of their 31 attempts from beyond the arc.

All three of their playoff series have been won on the road by the No. 8 seeded Heat. Game 2 is on Friday in Boston.

With 30 points, Jayson Tatum led the Celtics, but he didn't attempt a shot in the last frame. Jaylen Brown totaled 22 points and 9 rebounds in the game. 19 more points came from Malcolm Brogdon.

The Celtics, who play their best defense and get more shots off than their opponents, made 10 of 29 three-point attempts.

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