For the third time in four years, the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat are facing off for a place in the NBA Finals. Prior to 2020, the two teams had only ever had three playoff meetings. However, the rematch of a rematch just goes to show where these two franchises are at in their championship journeys.
For the Boston Celtics, a trip to the Conference Finals came after a back-and-forth series with the Sixers. However, 51 points from Jayson Tatum helped blow out Philadelphia in Game 7. Meanwhile, the Heat have been causing all sorts of trouble as an eight-seed. They knocked off the one-seed Bucks in the first round before downing the Knicks in six come the Conference Semis. This would be a masterclass battle between two hungry teams for a place in the NBA Finals.
Jimmy Buckets Strikes Again
A high-scoring first quarter saw the lead change hands 14 times, with Boston leading 30-28 at the break. With about 90 seconds left in the second, Boston had managed to stretch their lead to 13 and would go into the half up nine. But that's when the Heat took over. Miami outscored Boston 46-25 in the third quarter, Up 12 entering the final period of play, the Heat would not relinquish the lead for the rest of the game. The Heat stole Game 1 at TD Garden, 123-116.
Jimmy Butler, aka Jimmy Buckets aka Playoff Jimmy, was once again vital for the Heat. Butler led all scorers with 35 points while adding 7 assists and 6 steals to the stat sheet too. Bam Adebayo was also key, dropping 20 points and leading the team in rebounds with eight. Furthermore, every Heat player who played at least 25 minutes scored at least 15 points. On the other side of the ball, Tatum led the Celtics with 30 points. Jaylen Brown also came close to a double-double, with 22 points and 9 rebounds. However, despite 30 points off the bench from Marcus Brogden and Derrick White, a consistent problem in the starting five was present again. Al Horford had 7 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists. While the veteran center is not expected to be a points machine, it's concerning in what will be a high-scoring series.
Boston looks to even the series on Friday night. Who do you think will take Game 2? Let us know in the comments.