Heat rallies from 17-point deficit to take 2-0 series lead on Celtics in East finals

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No deficit has been too much for the Miami Heat this postseason. Not even 17 against the Boston Celtics on Thursday.

The Heat erased a 17-point first-half deficit with a dominant third quarter, then closed out a 106-101 win in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals with a series of clutch plays by Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic.

Miami is now two wins from playing in the NBA Finals after taking a 2-0 series lead on the Celtics in Lake Buena Vista.

Bam Adebayo scored 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting in the third to fuel the Heat’s comeback with a 37-17 period to turn a 60-47 halftime deficit into a 84-77 lead. Boston rallied back in the fourth quarter to take a 94-89 lead with 4:25 left before Butler and Dragic took over.

The game-ending 16-6 run began with Miami doing what it did throughout the third quarter: It put Adebayo into a pick-and-roll situation. All seven of the All-Star post player’s field goals in the third were off assists, four were dunks and three were alley oops, mostly from Dragic and rookie wing Tyler Herro.

In the final five minutes, the Heat made Butler the ballhandler and the All-Star wing found Adebayo in the post for a hook shot.

Then Butler jumped a passing lane for a steal, a save behind his back and eventually a wide-open dunk off a pass by sharpshooting swingman Duncan Robinson. Celtics wing Jaylen Brown went 1 of 2 at the free-throw line on the next possession and Butler tied the game again at 95-95 with a driving layup.

Dragic made two free throws on the next possession and the Heat never trailed again.

Butler and Dragic combined to score or assist on all 16 points in the final five minutes, and Butler added three steals.

Butler finished with 14 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals, Dragic scored a game-high 25 and Adebayo added 21 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block.


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