(Boston) Jimmy Butler scored 28 points and Caleb Martin had 26, with 10 rebounds, in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals Monday night to help the Miami Heat beat the Boston Celtics 103-84 and prevent the Celtics’ bid for an unprecedented comeback.
“We stuck together as a group. As a team, we talked about going for a tough away win. That’s what we did, Butler explained. But we are not satisfied. We are enthusiastic. We are happy. But we still have one game to win. »
The Heat rallied after blowing a 3-0 series lead and advanced to the NBA Finals for the second time in four seasons. The team will face the Denver Nuggets in the Finals. Game 1 is Thursday night in Denver.
Butler was honored with the Most Outstanding Player award.
Bam Adebayo had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Heat, who are the first eighth seed to play in a championship final since the New York Knicks in 1999. The top-seeded Nuggets have been waiting to hear their opponent since. on May 22, when they swept the Los Angeles Lakers.
“Sometimes you have to suffer to get what you really want,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. This group has shown the fortitude, when there are inevitable disappointments and failures, to have the perseverance to pick themselves up, to have this collective spirit to keep moving forward until we get to accomplish what you want. »
Game 6 hero Derrick White scored 18 points for the Celtics, who were hoping to become the first NBA team to qualify after trailing 3-0 in a best-of-seven series. Jaylen Brown scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds, but only managed one three-pointer.
Jayson Tatum, who scored 51 points against the Philadelphia Sixers, scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds after spraining his ankle on the first play of the game and limping for 42 minutes.
The Celtics led by five points early in the game before going 14-4 late in the first quarter and giving up 16 of the first 22 points in the second quarter. The Celtics cut the deficit to seven points late in the third quarter, but the Heat took a 76-66 lead at the break and scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to take the lead for good.
“Last year was extremely painful,” Spoelstra added. We thought about it throughout the season. And if you don’t have such an opponent to take you to another level, sometimes you don’t. »