Heat showed historic poise in Game 1 win

Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat is defended by Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics during the first quarter of the Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 17, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts.
(Photo by Adam Glanzmann / Getty Images)

Many NBA teams that reach the Conference Finals or are serious contenders for the championship do so with star power.

This year’s Eastern Conference Finals features two teams that have a stark difference in their roster makeup.

The Boston Celtics are somewhat top-heavy — they’re centered around their star pairing of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, and they have another legitimate offensive threat in reserve guard Malcolm Brogdon.

Their opponents, the Miami Heat, on the other hand, have a star in Jimmy Butler who tends to score offensively but is a team player.

The Heat win with offensive balance, and they did exactly that on Wednesday in Game 1 when six of their players scored at least 15 points, which tied an NBA record.

The formula for the Heat over the years has been for their support players to help keep them in the game, along with their defense, hustle and overall resourcefulness.

They know how to do the little things, like get offensive rebounds, keep the ball alive on offense, run for loose balls and make extra passes to take open shots.

But in critical stretches before or during the crisis, it’s Jimmy Buckets time for Miami.

In Game 1, he scored 35 points with seven assists, five rebounds and a big six steals, and 20 of his points came in the second half.

Meanwhile, Tatum, who played well statistically, was practically invisible in the fourth quarter and was called for two traveling violations in the final few minutes.

The Heat Continue To Pursue A Clutch NBA Mark