MIAMI: The Miami Heat beat the Boston Celtics 118-107 in the Eastern Conference finals opener, thanks to Jimmy Butler's 41 points.
The Heat trailed by eight points at halftime but stormed back to take a 76-64 lead in the third quarter, scoring 22 baskets while allowing only two.
Butler's 17 points came in the third quarter.
The second game of the seven-game series will be played in Miami on Thursday.
The Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks will face off in the Western Conference finals opening on Wednesday, with the winners meeting in the finals in June.
Butler's 40-point performance in the postseason was his seventh in his three seasons with the Heat. Only Dwyane Wade, a franchise legend, has more, with seven.
"I know what I'm capable of, and I don't do this to score 40 points," Butler said post-match.
"I play the way I play to win by all means necessary, and it just so happened that I score 40. If I score 40 and lose, I'll be pretty [ticked] off."
Boston's star Jayson Tatum had a quieter night. He picked up 29 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and four steals but also gave up seven turnovers.
"I have to be better in those situations. I've got to take care of the ball better," he added.