Heat's Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo make Magic Johnson proud in Game 1 win over Celtics

Once down 3-1 in the series, the Nuggets completed an all-time comeback by defeating the Clippers in Game 7 of their semifinal matchup and will now face the Los Angeles Lakers for the Western Conference crown.

USA TODAY

The tweets from Magic Johnson were doled out to the general public with the speed of one of his well-timed passes.

Miami Heat forward Bam Adebayo blocked Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum at the rim with 2.5 seconds left to seal a 117-114 overtime win Tuesday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Johnson then described Adebayo’s block as “the best defensive play I’ve seen ever in the playoffs!!!!”

Moments earlier, Jimmy Butler made a floater and a free-throw to give the Heat a 116-114 cushion with 12 seconds left in overtime. Johnson addressed Butler with his “Buckets” nickname before adding that his play “sealed the game.”

“You get on that big stage, you just got to make big plays and I made a big play,” Adebayo said. “Coming from Magic, that’s a great comment from him.”

Johnson might be prone to hyperbole and state the obvious on Twitter. This time, though, the comments fully captured what made the Heat’s Game 1 win so special. Not only did Butler and Adebayo make the highlight reels, they made winning plays in pressure-packed moments with significant stakes.

“That’s what it takes to win championships. I would agree with him,” Butler said of Johnson’s comments. “What Bam did to save the game to make sure we win it by putting his body on the line? That is a really good play.”

How did this “really good” play unfold?

Following Butler’s 3-pointer, the Celtics called timeout to set up an inbounds play near halfcourt. Naturally, the ball ended up in Tatum’s hands at the top of the key. Butler drew the defensive assignment. Tatum blew past Butler, but the Heat star funneled him toward the basket out of trust for Adebayo.

Though he was responsible for guarding Celtics guard Marcus Smart, who was having a great shooting game, out on the perimeter, Adebayo rotated over after he saw Tatum take two steps toward the basket. Adebayo then jumped into the air and swatted the ball as Tatum attempted a dunk. After drawing a foul, Adebayo sank one of two foul shots for a 117-114 cushion with 2.5 seconds left.

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