A decisive Butler and a plethora of Adebayo overtake Miami

Those of Spoelstra knew how to recover to a bad first and third quarter to finish prevailing in the extension. A plug from Adebayo in extra time tipped the balance.


Applicant strikes first. Celtics and Heat opened a conference final for history. For the second time in history, two teams that had not finished the regular season in the top two in the East reached the conference final. Only the Knicks in the 1993-1994 season had succeeded. The New Yorkers ended up losing in the Finals to the Spurs 4-1. Far from disappointing, the series begins with surprise. Miami found the precision in the shot under pressure of Butler and the defensive intensity of Adebayo to cement a victory (114-117) that they certified after an agonizing extension. A victory that at the start of the last quarter seemed like a utopia.

The first half was marked by two completely heterogeneous quarters, both in sensations and in the level of success of both teams. Stevens's men started the game with an order and defensive discipline that was unusual in a match of this requirement. A great zonal defense with constant exchanges of brands cemented the first 12 minutes in which Boston's only conceded 18 points and left Spoelstra's team with a poor 27.3% in field goals.

To that defensive order, a great dynamic game was added in attack. The game started at a very high pace, with hardly any interruptions, and Stevens' men knew how to manage that better, despite the fact that it is a style that closely matches the game played by Miami throughout the season. Boston was able to better exploit its virtues in attack, taking advantage of the large number of versatile shooters that its roster has and they started the game better, with a much more defined game plan. Smart and Tatum stood out above the others and allowed Boston to manage advantages of more than double the points of their rival. Despite this, a final Miami arreón left a bittersweet taste in the Celtics.

That feeling of disappointment was confirmed in the second quarter, in which Miami paid the Celtics with the same medicine that had left them touched at the start of the crash. Miami found speed and fluidity in the movement of the ball and changed its defensive system to a zone defense. In addition, those of Spoelstra looked for new alternatives in the construction of the game, making use of Adebayo's versatility and intelligence for a long time, who despite being a pivot demonstrated his enormous ability to distribute game.

Alongside him, an excellent Dragic was vindicated, who supported his team for much of the first quarter, the Slovenian went into the break with 16 points and a 70% success rate. He was followed by Crowder, exploiting his scoring ability from the perimeter, and Butler's first green shoots also appeared. Beyond Miami's change in attitude and approach, Boston paid for the lack of companionship at the scoring level for Tatum and Smart. Brown was showing up with a dropper and Walker was missing in action.

To this was added the fact that Stevens gave the feeling of not being clear about the approach of the game and gave several lurching, going from playing with a pivot marked as Theis to giving a lot of specific weight to Wanamaker, who despite everything ended the match with 11 points in 24 minutes. The game went to rest tied and with everything to decide. The start of the third quarter left more than ever the feeling of equality and great alternatives with very short sets. However, in the last three minutes, the Celtics broke the match with a 15-4 run, led by Tatum's 8 points, closing the third set with a 12-point lead for the East third, which seemed like an income very manageable for a last quarter.

However, against all odds, Miami once again rebuilt and turned it around with a final quarter in which it once again touched defensive perfection, only conceded 23 points, and in which it once again found the coral success of its players. Robinson and Herro appeared with their impudence and compulsive talent of looking at the basket from the perimeter, the tireless correct direction of the game by Dragic, who with assists and superbly commanding his team in transitions was decisive, Adebayo, with his importance in the circulation of the game from the paint, and Butler, who with a decisive triple on the corner seemed that he would give the victory to his team. However, an unremarkable foul by Jones, with the ball in play and 22 seconds from the end, condemned Miami to play extra time.

Despite this, Miami showed greater physical capacity and mental strength in the five minutes of overtime and knew how to manage difficult moments in a dangerous moment of the series. Crowder, successful from the perimeter, Butler, with an agonizing entry to the basket, and Adebayo, with a cap that may end up being key in the future of the series on Tatum, tipped the balance in favor of the Spoelstra. In this way, the challenger and the team that returned to a conference final since 2014 will again take the lead in a series this season and will measure the reaction capacity of Boston, which had not had to row against the current until now.

The resurgence of the best version of Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown is presumed decisive for the remainder of the series in the interests of Stevens. Despite his fundamental role in the key plays, Butler's numbers, who despite everything remained at 20 points, were far from the leader of a team that aspires to the ring. Despite everything, he threw gallons and knew how to appear when he played. At dawn from Thursday to Friday, at 01:00 Spanish time, the second episode of the series will be produced. A Miami win can be too dangerous and start to take on decisive overtones.

Photos from as.com
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