Jimmy Butler scored 41 points to help the Miami Heat (11/4 NBA Championship Outright) beat the Boston Celtics (3/1) 118-107 in their Eastern Conference finals opener.

The Heat were up against it at half-time, trailing the Celtics by eight points, however, they came back fighting and enjoyed a dominant third quarter, scoring 39 points while conceding just 14.

Butler scored 17 of his 41 points during that third-quarter – his fifth 40+ haul in the postseason during his three-season stint with the Heat.

Only franchise icon Dwayne Wade has scored 40+ points on more occasions, achieving that feat seven times, but Butler played down his own efforts and insisted it’s more crucial to get the win.

Butler said: “I know what I’m capable of, I don’t do this to score 40 points.

“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.”

NBA Betting Odds

The victory puts the Heat 1-0 ahead in the best-of-seven series with the next contest set to play out in Miami on Thursday (Money Line – Miami Heat 4/7, Boston Celtics 7/5).

There’s further action to come in the playoffs on Wednesday night when the Golden State Warriors and the Dallas Mavericks meet in the Western Conference finals opener (Money Line – Golden State Warriors 4/9, Dallas Mavericks 7/4).

Golden State (5/4 NBA Championship Outright), who finished third in the regular season, beat Memphis Grizzlies 4-2 in the semi-finals, while the Mavs (11/2) edged past the Phoenix Suns 4-3.

The Mavs won three of their four meetings with the Warriors during the regular season, sealing two victories at home and one on the road.

Wednesday’s Game 1 comes from Chase Center in San Francisco when hosts Golden State will be without Andre Iguodala, Gary Payton and James Wiseman due to injury.

Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd only has one absentee with guard Tim Hardaway still sidelined with the foot injury that has kept him out since January.

American Sports Betting Odds