Game one of the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals was defined by a match-winning block by the Miami Heat’s Bam Adebayo that broke the hearts of Boston Celtics fans.
With the game in the dying seconds of overtime, Boston’s Jayson Tatum was able to drive past Miami’s Jimmy Butler and looked set to send it to a second OT when he was met at the rim by Adebayo.
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The clean block halted Boston’s hopes of taking a 1-0 series lead, with Adebayo hitting a free throw at the other end to claim a 117-114 victory.
Both Boston and Miami scored second-round upsets over the higher ranked Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks respectively to earn their place in the conference finals.
Fans and NBA greats alike erupted over the game-saving block, with LA Lakers legend Magic Johnson taking to Twitter to describe it as ‘the best defensive play I’ve seen ever in the playoffs’.
Bam Adebayo’s block on Jayson Tatum’s dunk attempt was the best defensive play I’ve seen ever in the playoffs!!!!— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) September 16, 2020
That Bam Adebayo block is one of the sickest late game defensive plays in the postseason since LeBron's chasedown of Iguodala. Unbelievable.— Scott Stump (@Scott_Stump) September 16, 2020
That's as good a blocked dunk as you'll see under any circumstances— Paul Headley NBA (@PaulHeadleyNBA) September 16, 2020
😱😱 BAM!!— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) September 16, 2020
That’s one of the best blocks I’ve ever seen.— Olgun Uluc (@OlgunUluc) September 16, 2020
The way he cocked it back, Tatum vs. Bam was going to end in an all-time moment, one way or the other.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) September 16, 2020
It’s hard to fathom, with the force Tatum was bringing, that Bam just stuffed that thing. Herculean.
That was an insane block by Bam— Bay Area Sports Guy (@BASportsGuy) September 16, 2020
Adebayo finished the game with 18 points, six rebounds, nine assists and two blocks, while the Heat were lead by point guard Goran Dragic, who had 29 points.
Botson were paced by Tatum, who had 30 points, and Marcus Smart, who hit six three-pointers on his way to 26 points.
The block meant Miami took a 1-0 lead in the first to four series, with the winner to advance to the NBA Finals.
Miami prevail after hard fought battle against Boston
Miami erased a 13-point deficit in the first quarter and dug out of a 14-point hole in the fourth, ultimately snagging a 106-105 lead on All-Star forward Jimmy Butler’s three-pointer with 22 seconds left in regulation.
Boston sent the game to overtime with a single free throw, and Butler responded with another three-point play in the clutch — this time traditionally — to finally put the Heat up for good in a thrilling 117-114 victory.
“That’s my job to help us win games,” a resilient Butler told ESPN’s Malika Andrews in his postgame interview.
“At any point in time, but definitely in the fourth, definitely in overtime. I’m telling my teammates, my coaches, this organisation, they have a lot of faith in me, so I try to come through as often as I can.”
Butler’s layup plus the foul with 12 seconds left in overtime gave Miami a 116-114 lead, and Bam Adebayo blocked Celtics star Jayson Tatum’s game-tying layup attempt at the other end.
Forced to foul, Boston sent Adebayo to the line, where the All-Star center sank one of two free throws.
The Celtics had one more shot to even the score when Marcus Smart’s inbounds pass found Tatum at the three-point line, but Tatum’s off-balance turnaround rimmed out, sealing Boston’s frustrating fate.
The two teams play Game 2 on Friday.
With Yahoo Sports US