SIXERS COULD’VE WON A TITLE WITH BUTLER — 41 AS HEAT BEAT CELTS!

By Jerry Wein

Jimmy Butler hit 12-of-19 shots and 17-of-18 free throws for a game-high 41 points, nine rebounds, five assists, four steals, three blocks and just two turnovers in the Heat’s 118-107 Game 1 win over the Celtics in the Eastern finals.

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The Heat were down as much as 13 points and trailed at the half 62-54. Then they went on a 22-2 run to start the third quarter and forced Jayson Tatum into six third-quarter turnovers to take a commanding lead after taking the quarter 39-14.

The Celtics were able to hang around but the game was never really in doubt after Miami’s third-quarter dominance.

Game 2 is Thursday as the Heat will look to take a 2-0 lead at home.

This was Butler’s third 40-point game of these playoffs.

And remember, the Sixers chose to trade Butler to the Heat in 2019 and build around Ben Simmons, who turned out to be a choking dog in the playoffs in 2021 and then blew a hole in the Sixers for 54 games this season before he was dealt for James Harden.

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