Goran Dragic scored 25 points, Bam Adebayo led a big third-quarter rally to finish with 21, and the Miami Heat pulled off another comeback to beat the Boston Celtics 106-101 and take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals Thursday night.
They had been 0-21 in playoff games when trailing by at least that many at intermission. They’re 1-21 now, and two wins away from their first NBA Finals since 2014.
“We like to make it hard on ourselves,” Butler said. “We like being down double-digits and being the comeback kids.”
WATCH | CBC Sports’ Jamie Strashin discusses Jamal Murray’s superb season:
Kemba Walker had 23 points for Boston, which got 21 apiece from Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Brown missed a corner 3 that would have tied it with 15 seconds left, and Butler sealed it with two free throws with 7.4 seconds remaining.
Game 3 is Saturday. Dragic — playing on the third anniversary of his fondest basketball moment, leading Slovenia to the European Championship — scored nine points in the fourth quarter.
The Heat took a 2-0 series lead for the 11th time in coach Erik Spoelstra’s tenure. They’ve won all previous 10 instances.
Miami outscored Boston 37-17 in the third quarter, with Adebayo — the defensive hero of Game 1 — outshooting and nearly outscoring the Celtics by himself. Boston went 4 for 12 from the floor in the quarter, Adebayo went 7 for 8 on his way to a 15-point period and the Heat led 84-77 when it was over.
With that, it was Boston’s turn to rally. The Celtics went on a 15-2 run in the fourth, silencing the Heat for nearly seven minutes and going up 94-89 on a 3-pointer by Walker with 4:25 left.
That only set the stage for another rally: Miami finished the game on a 17-7 run.
“Team effort,” Butler said.
WATCH | Adebayo’s late block secures Game 1 win for Heat: