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Jimmy Butler lights the torch again in Miami Heat’s Game 1 win over Boston Celtics

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics seemingly got off to a regular start. The Celtics likely felt good about their nine-point lead heading into halftime. Then Jimmy Butler and the Heat must have gotten into Michael Jordan’s ‘secret stuff’ from Space Jam at halftime because they went on a 46-25 run in the third quarter to take the momentum away from the home team at the TD Garden.

We can’t act like Butler was the sole reason for Miami’s sudden surge, but he did manage a game-high 35 points on 12-of-25 shots from the field. Butler wouldn’t be refused at any moment. He’d play 43 minutes, accruing seven assists, six steals, and five rebounds to go with the contributions to the scoreboard.

Butler dominated both ends of the floor in the 123-116 victory, once again proving to be the heart and soul of this Miami squad. It may not have been the 56-point effort we witnessed in Game 4 against the Milwaukee Bucks, but considering the stage, and the tone the Heat just set, stealing Game 1 on the road, Butler’s effort comes pretty close to perfection.

Which, by the way, did actually put him on a very short list of players who have had two career road playoff games with 30 points, five rebounds, five assists, and five steals. The only other NBA athlete to achieve such a feat? Michael Jordan.

Winning the series opener is great, but the Heat did the very same thing, on the road, against the Celtics in the ECF last year. In other words, their head start means nothing, and there’s no one who knows that more than Erik Spoelstra’s team.

Next up will be another matchup at the TD Garden on Friday, with Game 2 tipping off at 8:30 PM ET. If the Heat can maintain their momentum, facing off with an ailing Jaylen Brown plus Jayson Tatum and Co., then heading to Miami later for Games 3 and 4 will feel like a breeze.

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