The Miami Heat avoided becoming the first team to squander a 3-0 NBA playoff series lead after beating the Boston Celtics 103-84 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Monday.
After a dramatic defeat in the final seconds at home in Game 6 on Saturday, Miami got the win they needed at Boston’s TD Garden to reach the NBA Finals against the Denver Nuggets, with that series set to begin on Thursday.
Miami’s Jimmy Butler, named the Eastern Conference Finals MVP, struggled in Game 6 but was back to his best on Monday with a game-high 28 points.
“I have so much belief in myself, and this group of guys I know how good of a team we are and we made it happen,” said Butler after receiving the Larry Bird MVP trophy.
“We stayed together as a team, we are excited and happy, but we have four more (wins) to do”
Jaylen Brown had 19 points and Derrick White 18 for Boston, with the duo coming alive in the third quarter when it looked like the Celtics would come from behind once again.
Boston’s Jayson Tatum was not fully fit and looked to be limping after twisting his ankle in the opening seconds.
Miami became just the second eighth-seeded team to reach the NBA Finals after the New York Knicks in 1999.
Copyright 2023 Thompson/Reuters