Butler shines as Heat win opener against Celtics
Jimmy Butler shared the credit with his teammates after leading the Miami Heat to another win in the NBA playoffs.
The 33-year-old has tended to overperform in the post-season, earning himself the nickname ‘play-off Jimmy’.
And Butler again shone as the Heat won 123-116 at the Boston Celtics in game one of the Eastern Conference finals.
“I’m playing at an incredible level because they are allowing me to do so and not putting a limit on my game,” said Butler, who scored 35 points.
“They are trusting me with the ball and on the defensive end, and I think that’s what any basketball player wants.
“What anyone wants in life is to be wanted, to be appreciated and just let you go out there and rock.”
Butler also finished with seven assists, six steals and five rebounds for Miami, who have become the first side seeded eighth to reach the conference finals since 1999.
The Heat trailed Boston, the second seed, by 13 points late in the second quarter and 66-57 at half-time.
But they outscored the hosts 46-25 in the third quarter to take a 12-point advantage, with Bam Adebayo adding 20 points.
Jayson Tatum had 30 points and seven rebounds for the Celtics, while Jaylen Brown added 22 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
Game two of the best-of-seven series is on Friday in Boston. (BBC)