On Friday, Miami Heat standout Jimmy Butler’s competitiveness increased.
Boston reserve Grant Williams chirped after making a 3-pointer to give the Celtics a nine-point lead in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.
Butler scored 15 seconds later, and the two players stared at one other. Both received technical fouls.
The hard-charging Butler hit back-to-back baskets, including the tiebreaking basket with 2:33 left, to give Miami a 2-0 series lead with a 111-105 win.
Miami won its second straight game in Boston with Butler’s 27 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and three steals.
Williams’ 3-pointer, Butler led Miami’s 18-4 run to win.
He talked to me after a tremendous shot. Butler agreed. “It makes me key in more, pushes my will to win more, and smile.” I play well… I’m not sure I’m a good listener.”
“Mad Jimmy any time,” said Miami forward Caleb Martin. “His eyes showed he was ready to go after that.”
Martin scored 25 points on 11-of-16 shooting for the eighth-seeded Heat. Duncan Robinson and Bam Adebayo both scored 15 points for Miami.
Heat can win the series without returning to Boston. Miami hosts Games 3 and 4 on Sunday and Tuesday.
Boston’s second-seeded Jayson Tatum had 34 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists, but he missed a fourth-quarter field goal again. Tatum scored five final-quarter free throws.
Celtics’ Jaylen Brown scored 16 points on 7-of-23 shooting. Malcolm Brogdon and Robert Williams III scored 13.
Brown said the series continues.
“Both of these two games, they’ve been able to come out on top,” Brown said. Who’s to say we can’t win the next two games? Just be ready for basketball. We can’t lose faith. First to four makes a great tale.”
The Heat shot 45.7 percent and made 9 of 26 (34.6 percent) 3-pointers. Miami’s Max Strus scored 11.
Boston shot 46.8% from the field, including 10 of 35 (28.6%) 3-pointers. Celtics’ Derrick White scored 11.
With 10:35 left, Robert Williams’ dunk gave Boston a game-high 12-point advantage.
Robinson replied with two 3-pointers during Miami’s 10-2 run to trim the Celtics’ advantage to 91-87 with 8:40 left.
The Heat went on an 18-4 run after Boston regained a nine-point lead. Robinson’s layup got Miami within 98-96 with 4:36 left before Grant Williams’ slam with 3:52 left for the Celtics.
Miami moved up by two after Adebayo hit two free throws and Butler scored three times, including the game-winner. Strus split two free throws and Adebayo smacked a rim-rattling dunk to make it 105-100 with 55 seconds left.
Tatum made three free throws with 49.3 seconds left for his first fourth-quarter points. Gabe Vincent’s 35.1-second jumper gave the Heat a 107-103 lead.
After Tatum scored two free throws with 21.6 seconds left, Vincent and Strus each made two to secure it for the Heat and leave the Celtics searching for solutions.
“We need to get together,” Robert Williams stated. “Time’s up. We can’t afford these mistakes.”
Boston led 83-75 after Tatum’s 15 third-quarter points. Celtics 33, Heat 21.
Martin scored 14 before halftime as the Heat led 54-50. Boston’s Tatum had 14 halfpoints.