And Heat star Jimmy Butler took things to another level to lead Miami to the Game 1 victory.
Butler — who averaged 21.4 points in the regular season — scored 41 points. He went 12-of-19 from the field, and he really cashed in at the charity stripe, making 17-of-18 free throws. Additionally, he pulled down nine rebounds, dished out five assists, swiped four steals, and blocked three shots, to go with having a game-high plus/minus of +25.
It was an all-around superb effort by the six-time All-Star.
Jimmy Butler joins LeBron James as the only players with 40+ points, 5+ rebounds, 5+ assists, 4+ steals and 3+ blocks in a playoff game. #NBA75
Jimmy Butler: 41 PTS, 9 REB, 5 AST, 4 STL, 3 BLK pic.twitter.com/LLX79fckWc
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) May 18, 2022
Boston actually had a 62-54 lead at halftime, but Miami went on a 22-2 run to start the second half and outscored the Celtics 39-14 in the third quarter. After an eight-point halftime deficit, the Heat led by as many as 20 in the second half.
Now, Boston was without guard Marcus Smart (mid-foot sprain) and big man Al Horford, and the absence of those two key players certainly didn’t help things for the Celtics.
Celtics‘ Al Horford and Marcus Smart are out for Game 1 vs. Miami tonight. Horford is in health and safety protocols.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 17, 2022
Still, the Celtics have to be kicking themselves after a blown opportunity to steal one in Miami. Boston outscored Miami in the first, second, and fourth quarters, only to lose because of a brutal third-quarter performance.
Here’s how the basketball world is reacting to Game 1:
Jimmy Butler had ZERO 40 point games in the regular season. He already has three in the playoffs.
> 45 PTS vs ATL (Round 1, Game 2)
> 40 PTS vs PHI (ECSF, game 4)
> 41 PTS vs BOS (ECF, game 1)
Playoff Jimmy has been on a tear pic.twitter.com/vVqzW6UTac
— SB Nation (@SBNation) May 18, 2022
Jimmy Butler tonight:
It’s his 3rd 40-point game this playoffs. No other player has more. pic.twitter.com/zDVbhEw0qc
— StatMuse (@statmuse) May 18, 2022
Jimmy Butler recorded his 5th career playoff game with 40 points on 60% shooting, tied with Charles Barkley for 3rd-most over the last 30 postseasons.
The only players with more are LeBron James (12) and Shaquille O'Neal (8). pic.twitter.com/GWoTgLkXLz
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 18, 2022
Bam Adebayo's reaction when Tyler Herro walked in with his fit in the post-game press is priceless 🤣😅 pic.twitter.com/TrNIZFptVz
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 18, 2022
JIMMY BUTLER IS REALLY LIKE THAT
— Joy Taylor (@JoyTaylorTalks) May 18, 2022
I'LL SAY IT AGAIN: JIMMY BUTLER IS THE BEST PLAYER LEFT IN THE PLAYOFFS … AND HE WAS EASILY THE BEST PLAYER ON THE FLOOR TONIGHT.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) May 18, 2022
Jimmy Butler is really a remarkable superstar and I hope he’s remembered quite fondly in the annals of NBA history
— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) May 18, 2022
Nobody’s playing better than Jimmy Butler
— Vincent Goodwill (@VinceGoodwill) May 18, 2022
Celtics were favored to win the series. The Heat were favored to win Game 1. The Heat won Game 1.
The Celtics are now +120 to win the series.
— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) May 18, 2022
Elite teams win 3rd quarters after making halftime adjustments.
The Miami Heat have been the best 3rd quarter team in the Playoffs.
Today, they out-scored the best defense in the NBA in the third, 39-14.
Also: Jimmy Butler has been the most impactful player of this contest.
— Naveen Ganglani (@naveenganglani) May 18, 2022