NBA: Heat grind out win over Celtics for 2-0 lead in East finals


Posted at Sep 18 2020 10:00 AM | Updated as of Sep 18 2020 11:37 AM

NBA: Heat grind out win over Celtics for 2-0 lead in East finals 1
Erik Spoelstra and the Heat gutted out a Game 2 win for a 2-0 series lead against Boston. Mark J. Terrill, AP

Goran Dragic scored 25 points and made a pair of clutch 3-pointers in the last 2 minutes to lead the Miami Heat to a 106-101 victory over the Boston Celtics Thursday (US time) and go up 2-0 in the Eastern Conference finals.

Bam Adebayo added 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Heat, who have never lost in 16 playoff series after winning the first 2 games, according to ESPN stats.

"We came here to these playoffs trying to win a championship," Adebayo said. "We keep stacking these wins and hopefully we get to that point.

"Right now, 2-0, we've got to keep stacking those Ws."

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"We like to make it hard for ourselves," Butler said of the Miami "comeback kids."

In fact, the Heat got off to a brisk start making five of their first six 3-point attempts.

After a close first quarter the Celtics surged ahead in the second, only for the Heat to make the needed adjustments at halftime.

"You get to the conference finals, it's not all about you," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Boston had a lot to say about how that first half was going. That was them putting us on our heels."

It was a game of runs that swung wildly for either team.

Miami’s 13-1 surge, though, late in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference-maker.

Down 94-89 after a Kemba Walker 3-pointer with 4:25 left, the Heat took control to go up 102-95 capped by a triple each by Dragic and Jae Crowder.

After Jaylen Brown answered with a 3 of his own, Dragic drilled another from downtown to make it 104-98 with less than a minute left.

Brown again buried a triple to make it a 3-point game, but with a chance to tie in Boston’s next play he missed from 26 feet.

Jimmy Butler sealed the deal with 2 free throws after Boston was forced to foul.

According to ESPN stats, the Celtics are 2-15 in playoff series where they were down 0-2.

Duncan Robinson added 18 points to go with 6 3-pointers, while Butler and Crowder had 14 and 12 points, respectively, as all Heat starters scored in double digits.

"They out-played us," Walker said of the Heat's third-quarter surge.

"It's really unacceptable on our behalf. We didn't continue to do the things that we did to get us that lead. I think we got kind of comfortable and those guys took advantage of it."

Walker finished with 23 points for Boston, which led by as many as 17 points in the first half.

When they went zone in the third quarter, the Heat put the Celtics on their heels, erasing a 67-52 deficit and going ahead 72-71.

Down 84-77 at the start of the fourth, Boston punched back with a 17-5 run capped by the Walker triple.

Like in a number of games these playoffs, though, Miami dug deep and found a way to escape with victory. -- With a report from Agence France-Presse