Jayson Tatum, Celtics Hailed by NBA Fans for Dominant Win vs. Heat With Butler Out

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The Miami Heat were without Jimmy Butler for Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Playoffs matchup with the Boston Celtics. It showed.

Jayson Tatum and the Celtics absolutely clobbered the Heat on Sunday, 114-94, as the top seed in the Eastern Conference took the first step toward exorcising its playoff demons against Miami.

It was a balanced effort, with Tatum posting the first postseason triple-double of his career (23 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) to go along with strong performances from Kristaps Porziņģis (18 points), Jaylen Brown (17 points, eight rebounds) and Derrick White (20 points) all putting together solid games.

The Celtics shot lights out from deep (22-of-49, 44.9 percent), shared the rock (27 assists) and spread the love offensively (six players in double-digit scoring), leading by as many as 34 points in the third quarter.

The Heat did chip the deficit down 14 points late in the fourth, but overall this was a comfortable win for the Celtics. Fans and pundits alike on social media were feeling the performance, both from the team and Tatum:

Bam Adebayo led the Heat with 24 points and six boards.

There’s no doubt that the Heat are in trouble if Butler can’t return to this series. It would have been a tough series with him after the Celtics steamrolled through the NBA this season to the tune of 64 wins.

There’s also plenty of history in this matchup. These teams have played each other in four of the past five postseasons. Both last year and in the 2019-20 season, Miami kept the Celtics from a berth in the NBA Finals. In the 2021-22 season, it was Boston who prevailed in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The two teams have now played 21 games in the playoffs against each other since the 2019-20 campaign. The Heat hold the narrowest of advantages in the matchup, 11-10.

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