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Heat beat Celtics in Eastern Conference final opener

SAMAA | - Posted: Sep 16, 2020 | Last Updated: 2 weeks ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Sep 16, 2020 | Last Updated: 2 weeks ago
Heat beat Celtics in Eastern Conference final opener

Photo Courtesy: MiamiHEAT/Twitter

Miami Heat registered a narrow 117-114 win over Boston Celtics in the opening game of their Eastern Conference final on Tuesday.

Bam Adebayo leaped high to take what appeared to be an easy dunk away from Celtics star Jayson Tatum to preserve the Heat’s slim lead, 116-114.

He then capped the scoring by sinking a free throw at the other end.

Tatum, who finished with a game high 30 points, missed a desperation 29-foot three pointer at the buzzer in the NBA’s quarantine bubble in Orlando, Florida.

The second game will be played on Thursday night in Orlando.

Goran Dragic scored 29 points, Jae Crowder had 22 and Jimmy Butler finished with 20 for the Heat, who eliminated the Celtics from the playoffs in 2011 and 2012.

Miami are seeking to get back to the NBA finals for the first time since a four-year run of consecutive appearances during the LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh era ended in 2014.

Tatum also had 14 rebounds and five assists, Marcus Smart tallied 26 points and Jaylen Brown delivered 17 for the Celtics who are in the league semi-finals for the third time in four years.

Nuggets upset Clippers

Jamal Murray scored a game high 40 points and Nikola Jokic had a triple double as the Denver Nuggets stunned the Los Angeles Clippers 104-89 in game seven to reach their first Western Conference finals in 11 years.

The underdog Nuggets became the first team in NBA history to rally from a 3-1 series deficit twice in the same postseason.

Jokic completed his triple double by the third quarter of Tuesday night’s contest in the NBA’s quarantine bubble in Florida, finishing with 16 points, 13 assists and 22 rebounds.

His rebound count is the most by a Nuggets player in an NBA playoff game, breaking his old record of 19. Denver’s dynamic duo combined for 56 points.

“We are just improving. We have talks, we have fights, everything. We are like a couple,” Jokic said of playing with Murray.

An odd couple for sure. A Serbian and a Canadian dynamic duo that has engineered the biggest upsets of the 2020 postseason so far.

Denver will once again be the underdogs when they face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in the conference finals beginning Friday.

“Nobody wants us here,” insisted Jokic.

But Murray issued a warning for people who think the Lakers’ juggernaut is going to steamroller them.

“They got to worry about us too,” Murray said.

The Nuggets found themselves down by 12 in the first half. They also trailed 61-54 with 10:50 left in the third when they stepped it up and went on a 35-13 run to compile a 15-point lead in the fourth.

“Next is Lakers, another tough opponent,” Jokic said. “But we are going to be out there having fun. It is simple for us, effort and energy.”

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