The Boston Celtics have been getting lots of praise lately, as some feel they possess the best defense in the NBA.
They seemed to be almost consensus favorites against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, but Miami had its way with them in Game 1 to the tune of a 118-107 victory.
Jimmy Butler had a dominant performance to lead the way, and he reminded people how tough he is and how he likes to challenge opponents.
Jimmy Butler; “I like physicality, I want to run into people and see who falls down first. I want to see who quits first.” pic.twitter.com/D6Jzjk7nCm
— Ethan J. Skolnick, 5 Reasons Sports (@EthanJSkolnick) May 18, 2022
Butler put on a masterclass on Tuesday, scoring 41 points on 12-of-19 shooting from the field and 17-of-18 from the free-throw line, nine rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks.
After falling behind in the first half, it looked like perhaps the Heat wouldn’t be able to penetrate Boston’s vaunted defense, a defense that had effectively marooned Giannis Antetokounmpo in the prior series versus the Milwaukee Bucks.
But Miami came alive in the third quarter, going on a devastating 22-2 run to take control of the game.
Some may feel that Butler is perhaps a little too unselfish for his own good, that he tries to let his teammates get themselves going early in games to the detriment of his own game.
But that was not the case on Monday. Butler left nothing to chance, and as a result, the Heat have drawn first blood in what should shape up as a classic knockdown, drag-out Eastern Conference matchup.
Game 2 will be on Thursday before the two squads head to New England for Game 3 on Saturday.