Butler also provided eight rebounds, six assists and an emotional spark after Boston’s Grant Williams started jawing with him: Butler stared down Williams, with both players drawing technical fouls for the double head-butt.
Then “Jimmy Buckets” scored and scored some more – nine points in all during a 23-9 run that turned a nine-point deficit into a 105-100 lead.
“I knew that was going to be good for us,” said Caleb Martin, who came off the bench to score 25 points. “We’ll take mad Jimmy at any time. You could kind of see it in his eyes he was ready to go after that.”
Bam Adebayo had 22 points, 17 rebounds and nine assists for Miami, which returns home with a chance to sweep and become just the second No. 8 seed to reach the NBA Finals.
Game 3 is tonight.
Jayson Tatum had 34 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists for Boston. But the Celtics star went 0 for 3 with two turnovers in the fourth quarter, when Boston blew an 89-77 lead en route to a second home loss in three nights.
After finishing 13 games ahead of the Heat in the regular-season – and then watching top-seeded Milwaukee fall to Miami in the first round – the Celtics have stumbled on what appeared to be a clear path to their second straight NBA Finals.
Jaylen Brown scored 16 points on 7-for-23 shooting; he went 1 for 5 with a turnover in the final quarter, when Miami outscored Boston 36-22.