The #5 Miami Heat struck first blood in the Eastern Conference Finals with a 117-114 overtime victory in Game 1 over of the #3 Boston Celtics. Bam Adebayo, the unsung hero of the Heat, literally saved the day with a blocked shot by thwarting a game-tying dunk from Celtics’ All-Star Jayson Tatum.
The Celtics blew a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter and the Heat did their best Denver Nuggets’ impersonation, rallying back with a win in OT to steal the opening game of the series.
The Celtics don’t want to panic, but Game 2 has a must-win vibe to avoid an 0-2 hole.
The Heat improved to 9-1 in the postseason. In betting terms, the Heat are 9-1 against the spread and continue to defy oddsmakers. Coming into Game 2, the Heat are +2.5 underdogs.
|#5 Miami Heat (1-0) vs #3 Boston Celtics (0-1)|
- Tip-off: 4:00pm PT
- Point Spread: BOS -2.5
- Total: 209.5 o/u
- Money Line: MIA +125 / BOS -140
The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas updated its NBA championship futures and the Heat are now 4/1 odds to win the title, while the Celtics are 11/2 odds.
The Celtics came into the Eastern Conference Finals as the favorite to win the east. DraftKings initially listed their series odds at -130. After the Celtics choked in Game 1, oddsmakers adjusted the playoff series lines. The Celtics are now +132 to advance to the NBA Finals. The Heat are now favorites to win the east at -162 odds.
The Celtics jumped out to an early lead to start Game 1, but they couldn’t hold it. They held a 14-point edge heading into the fourth quarter, but couldn’t stop a rally from the Heat.
Coming into the Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics were 156-1 in the postseason when leading by a dozen or more points in the fourth quarter. The Heat thumbed their noses at history and stormed back with the win.
“We’re going to have to figure out, again, better ways to attack, especially late,” said head coach Brad Stevens.
Stevens rode his starters hard in Game 1. Daniel Theis played the “least” with 35 minutes of action. The other four logged no fewer than 43 minutes in the overtime thriller.
Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 30 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, and three steals. He missed a chance to tie the game when Bam Adebayo came out of nowhere with the blocked shot that blew up Twitter.
“Bam Adebayo’s block on Jayson Tatum’s dunk attempt was the best defensive play I’ve seen ever in the playoffs!!!” tweeted Magic Johnson.
Marcus Smart scored 26 points, including 6-for-13 from 3-point range. Kemba Walker added 19 points, but he continued to struggle from long range. He shot only 1-for-9 from 3-point land.
The Celtics got a rare 18 points from their second unit, mostly due to Brad Wanamaker’s 11 points off the bench.
Bam Big-Time Block
The Heat do their most damage when Jimmy Buckets isn’t the leading scorer, but gets his teammates involved in the offense.
Veteran guard Goran Dragic led the Heat with 29 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. Jae Crowder stepped up with 22 points and five rebounds. Butler added 20 points, including a three-point play to seal the overtime win.
Bam Adebayo added 18 points, nine assists, three rebounds, and two blocks. His final block of the game is what everyone is still talking about. Jayson Tatum drove to the hoop and elevated for a dunk, but Bam ate his lunch … and dinner … with a vicious blocked shot. Adebayo’s defense saved the day.
“When you have great competition like this, you just have to make plays that you can’t even really explain and that was Bam tonight,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.
“He made a great play,” said Tatum. “Can’t do anything about it.”
Adebayo continues to be the unsung hero of the Heat, but the blocked shot let the world know he’s a savage defender.
“I love how Bam does any and everything that you ask him to do,” said Butler. “You ask him to pass the ball, he does that. Score, he does that. Come up with a huge defensive stop, block, he does that. He’s a huge part to our winning.”
Miami’s reserves barely outscored Boston’s bench, 20-18. Tyler Herro logged 40 minutes off the bench and added 12 points.
We love Bam Adebayo here at OG. Before the season began in October 2019, we suggested that Adebayo would be a great addition to your fantasy basketball squad as a sleeper pick.
This angle of Bam's block on Tatum 😳😳😳
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 16, 2020