The Miami Heat pulled off another Lazarus act early on Friday as they rallied from a 13 point first half deficit to beat the Boston Celtics and go 2-0 up in the Eastern Conference finals.
The Heat who were down by 14 in Game 1, made the Boston Celtics lose another big lead on the court and are two wins away from the NBA Finals.
Goran Dragic scored 25 points, Bam Adebayo led a big third-quarter rally to finish with 21 as the Heat beat the Celtics 106-101.
Duncan Robinson scored 18 points, Jimmy Butler had 14, Jae Crowder 12 and Tyler Herro 11. The Heat were down by 17 in the second quarter and trailed by 13 at halftime.
They had been 0-21 in playoff games when trailing by at least that many at intermission. They’re 1-21 now, and two wins away from their first NBA Finals since 2014 — and their 17-point comeback matched the biggest in Heat postseason history.
Kemba Walker had 23 points for Boston, which got 21 apiece from Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Brown missed a corner 3 that would have tied it with 15 seconds left, and Butler sealed it with two free throws with 7.4 seconds remaining.
The Heat take a 2-0 series lead for the 11th time in coach Erik Spoelstra’s tenure. They’ve won all previous 10 instances.
Game 3 is Saturday.
The Heat got in big trouble in the series opener by scoring 18 points in the first quarter and 16 points in the third. In Game 2, another 18-point quarter — the second — sent Boston into the half up comfortably, 60-47.
And then it all changed.
Miami outscored Boston 37-17 in the third quarter, with Adebayo — the defensive hero of Game 1 — outshooting and nearly outscoring the Celtics by himself. Boston went 4 for 12 from the floor in the quarter, Adebayo went 7 for 8 on his way to a 15-point period and the Heat led 84-77 when it was over.
They showed some fight in the fourth. The Celtics went on a 15-2 run, silencing the Heat for nearly seven minutes and going up 94-89 on a 3-pointer by Walker with 4:25 left.
That only set the stage for another Heat rally: Miami finished the game on a 17-7 run to give Spoelstra his 81st career playoff win which ties him for eighth all-time with K.C. Jones.