Heat rally past Celtics for 2-0 lead in NBA’s Eastern Conference playoff

Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro (14) loses control of the ball as he works against Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart, bottom, and Jaylen Brown (7) duringGame 2 of their NBA conference final playoff on Sept. 17, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
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Updated 18 September 2020

Heat rally past Celtics for 2-0 lead in NBA’s Eastern Conference playoff

  • Boston Celtics lose another big lead on the court as well as their cool in the postgame locker room

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida: 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.
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.
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.
“We pulled apart and we didn’t play well,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “And they did a good job. We’re not beating this team if we’re not completely connected on both ends of the court. So, got to get back to being that, which we’ve been at times. But right now, they’re a better team. We’re going to have to fight to get back in this series.”
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.
“Team effort,” Butler said.

TIP-INS
Heat: Spoelstra’s 81st career playoff win ties him for eighth all-time with K.C. Jones. ... Miami’s 20-point differential in the third quarter was a Heat record for that quarter in the playoffs, and the sixth time in Heat playoff history they outscored an opponent by at least 20 in any quarter. ... Robinson, who had been 2 for 9 on 3’s in his last two games, made four in the first quarter and six in the game. ... Andre Iguodala couldn’t play after halftime with back tightness.
Celtics: Gordon Hayward (ankle) remained out. ... Enes Kanter and Romeo Langford got first-quarter minutes after not playing in Game 1, but Langford left after about a minute with an adductor strain. Kanter had nine points and six rebounds in eight first-half minutes. ... Walker came in in a 5-for-35 slump from 3-point land, and went 4 for 11 Thursday.

3’S ARE WILD
Crowder’s 3-pointer with 5:43 left in the third quarter was — fittingly — the 33,333rd in NBA playoff history.

SCHEDULE UPDATE
There will be a break between Games 3 and 4. Game 3 is Saturday; Game 4 won’t be until Wednesday.

HBCU NIGHT
Roughly 100 students and alumni from more than 60 historically black colleges and universities got to watch (through the video screens) as part of the NBA’s HBCU Virtual Fan Night. They also held a question-and-answer session with Philadelphia forward and Norfolk State University alumnus Kyle O’Quinn at halftime.
 


Newspaper apologizes for racist comment about Barça’s Fati

Updated 22 October 2020

Newspaper apologizes for racist comment about Barça’s Fati

  • ABC journalist Salvador Sostres wrote that ‘Ansu when running has something of a gazelle, or a very young, black street vendor running’ away from police
  • Teammate Antoine Griezmann: ‘Ansu is an exceptional young man who deserves the same respect as any human being — no to racism and no to bad manners’

BARCELONA, Spain: Barcelona player Ansu Fati received an apology in a Spanish newspaper on Thursday for being profiled racially by one of its journalists.
ABC journalist Salvador Sostres wrote of Barcelona’s win over Ferencvaros on Tuesday that “Ansu when running has something of a gazelle, or a very young, black street vendor running” away from police.
Teammate Antoine Griezmann was one of many readers who denounced the description by Sostres in a message on Twitter: “Ansu is an exceptional young man who deserves the same respect as any human being. No to racism and no to bad manners.”
ABC published an apology by Sostres on Thursday.
“My intention was to praise the beauty of Ansu’s movement and his talent as a very young player,” Sostres wrote. “Some expressions were understood as racist insults. Nothing was further from my intention, nor the very favorable opinion of the player that I have expressed in all the match reports I have written since his debut. I deeply lament the misunderstanding and I ask forgiveness if anyone has felt offended.”
Fati, who is Black, was born in Guinea Bissau and immigrated with his family to Spain when he was six years old. Now 17, he is one of Barcelona’s most promising players.
Barcelona says it was planning to sue the newspaper and journalist, but after Sostres’ apology it is reconsidering what course to take.