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Thursday's NBA playoffs: Comeback Heat do it again, rally past Celtics for 2-0 lead

Associated Press

Lake Buena Vista, Fla. — Down by 14 in Game 1, the Miami Heat found a way.

Down by 17 in Game 2, they did it again Thursday night. And after making the Boston Celtics lose another big lead on the court – as well as their cool in the postgame locker room – the unheralded Heat are two wins away from the NBA Finals.

Miami Heat's Bam Adebayo (13), Derrick Jones Jr., left rear, Jimmy Butler (22) and Goran Dragic (7) celebate after their NBA conference final playoff basketball game against the Boston Celtics on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Goran Dragic scored 25 points, Bam Adebayo led a big third-quarter rally to finish with 21, and the Heat pulled off another comeback to beat the Celtics 106-101 and take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.

“We got grit,” Adebayo said. “That’s about all I can tell you. We got grit, man.”

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 the team said the 17-point comeback matched the biggest in Heat postseason history.

“We like to make it hard on ourselves,” Butler said. “We like being down double-digits and being the comeback kids.”

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 Celtics had a loud, animated conversation in their locker room postgame, the walls unable to hold in the sound. They tried to downplay whatever was happening afterward.

“It was nothing,” Walker said. “It was nothing.”

Added Tatum: “We’re frustrated. But that’s team sports. Not supposed to be happy we’re down 0-2. But that’s nothing out of the ordinary. Just talking about the game. It’s cool.”

Dragic – playing on the third anniversary of his fondest basketball moment, that being when he led Slovenia to the EuroBasket Championship – scored nine points in the fourth quarter.

“Feels exactly the same,” Dragic said, when asked to compare Slovenia’s golden moment to the Heat win Thursday. “A great day.”

The Heat took 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.

Eastern Conference

MIAMI 2, BOSTON 0

Tuesday, Sept. 15: Miami 117, Boston 114, OT

Thursday, Sept. 17: Miami 106 Boston 101

Saturday, Sept. 19: Boston vs. Miami, 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 23: Boston vs. Miami, 8:30 p.m.

x-Friday, Sept. 25: Boston vs. Miami, 8:30 p.m.

x-Sunday, Sept. 27: Miami vs. Boston, 7:30 p.m.

Western Conference

L.A. LAKERS VS. DENVER

Friday, Sept. 18: Denver vs. L.A. Lakers, 9 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 20: L.A. Lakers vs. Denver, 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 22: Denver vs. L.A. Lakers, 9 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 24: L.A. Lakers vs. Denver, 9 p.m.

x-Saturday, Sept. 26: Denver vs. L.A. Lakers, 9 p.m.

x-Monday, Sept. 28: L.A. Lakers vs. Denver, TBD

x-Wednesday, Sept. 30: Denver vs. L.A. Lakers, TBD

x-If necessary