The Miami Heat strike first in Orlando to take Game 1 against the Indiana Pacers, 113-101 to take a 1-0 series lead.
Jimmy Butler was the hero for the Heat, knocking down big shot after big shot down the stretch to seal the win.
Here are some takeaways from the game:
Butler comes up clutch
After T.J. Warren's three-pointer cut the Heat's lead to 96-93 with 6:05 remaining in the fourth quarter, Jimmy Butler took things into his own hands, knocking down back-to-back clutch three-pointers to ice the game.
Butler is taking over in the 4th QTR 😤 pic.twitter.com/A0Cj4baewW- NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) August 18, 2020
Goran Dragic added another triple in an 11-2 run to make it 107-95 with just over two minutes remaining.
Entering this game, Jimmy Butler had made ONE three-pointer since early February.- StatMuse (@statmuse) August 18, 2020
Today, he made two threes back-to-back to clinch Game 1. pic.twitter.com/guxEoiSd5b
Butler vs. Warren
While the series features two solid teams in the Heat and Pacers, all eyes were on the 1-on-1 battle between forwards Jimmy Butler and T.J. Warren.
The two have history, dating back to a heated meeting in early January and intensified by a seeding games meeting between the two teams. It all perfectly built tension and anticipation leading into this postseason series.
It didn't disappoint.
After one frame, Warren led all scorers with nine points while Butler scored eight and the Pacers took a six-point lead into the second.
By the game's end, Butler finished with 28 points, four assists, three rebounds, four steals, and two blocks, while Warren recorded 22 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and four steals.
It's worth noting that this is all in the postseason debut for Warren, who spent the first five seasons of his career in Phoenix. On the other hand, it was the 56th career postseason game for Butler.
With just over three minutes remaining in the first quarter, Victor Oladipo went down after being poked in the left eye. He would step up to the line to sink both free throws and exit the game, marked as questionable to return.
Oladipo would not return to action, finishing with just four points in 8:34 seconds of action.
His status for Game 2 is unknown but the already injury-plagued Pacers team can ill-afford any more injuries to key players.
Miami makes lineup changes
The Heat rolled with a starting lineup of Goran Dragic, Duncan Robinson, Jimmy Butler, Jae Crowder, and Bam Adebayo.
This is notable because Dragic only started in three games during the regular season, relegating Rookie of the Year finalist Kendrick Nunn to the second unit. Nunn, who was outstanding in his rookie campaign, started in all 67 regular-season games that he appeared.
Not only did he fall out of the starting lineup, Nunn also fell out of the rotation, failing to register a minute of playing time in Game 1.
The change paid dividends for the Heat, as Dragic finished with 24 points, six rebounds, and five assists.
The two teams are back in action in less than 48 hours, with Game 2 set to tip-off Thursday, August 20 at 10:30 p.m. IST.
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