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Heat beat Celtics to lead in NBA Eastern Conference finals

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-05-18 16:47
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Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat shoots the ball over Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics during the fourth quarter in Game One of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals at FTX Arena on May 17, 2022 in Miami, Florida. [Photo/Agencies]

NEW YORK - Jimmy Butler scored 27 of 41 points in the second half to help the Miami Heat take over the first game of the NBA Eastern Conference finals from the third quarter and defeat the Boston Celtics 118-107 on Tuesday.

The Heat trailed by three in the first quarter. Grant Williams gifted the Celtics an early lead. However, P.J. Tucker and Bam Adebayo from the Heat turned the game into a seesaw battle. Jayson Tatum scored 10 points to help the Celtics lead 28-25 before the first break.

The Celtics continued their offensive and built a two-digit advantage in the second quarter to take a 62-54 lead into half-time.

The game totally changed in the second half. Butler helped the Heat fight back by hitting 4 of 5 field goals and grabbing 17 points. Gabe Vincent and Max Strus also accomplished 3 three-point shots in this quarter. The Heat led 39-14 in the third quarter.

In the last 12 minutes, Jaylen Brown got 15 points and did all he could for the Celtics. Payton Pritchard also scored eight points, but they failed to stop their rivals from claiming victory.

Butler showed his dominance with 41 points and five assists.

The Celtics' core guard Smart was absent because of a foot sprain in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday.

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