BOSTON ( Associated Press) — Jimmy Butler had 47 points, nine rebounds and eight assists as the Miami Heat beat the Boston Celtics 111-103 on Friday night to force the Eastern Conference Finals in a decisive seventh game.
Ten years after LeBron James had 45 points in Boston on his way to back-to-back NBA titles to help the Heat avoid a Game 6 elimination, Butler scored 17 points in the fourth quarter and sent him to the top. Gave and sent back the chain. Miami.
With a home win on Sunday, the Heat will reach the NBA Finals for the second time in three years.
“It should be the same with both these teams. It should have played seven games,” said Miami coach Eric Spoelstra. “I’m really thrilled that our group gets to compete in Game 7 in front of our home audience.”
In the most back-and-forth game of the series, Boston took a 97–94 lead on Derrick White’s 3-pointer, with less than five minutes to play—the first time in all series the lead changed hands in the fourth quarter. Have given. Kyle Lowry answered with a 3 and then added two free throws as Miami scored 11 of the next 13.
Lowry finished with 18 points and 10 assists and fouled out with 2:18 remaining. Butler made 16 of 29 shots, shot 4 of 8 from 3-point range, and made all 11 free throws.
“From the start his intensity was unmatched,” said Celtics coach Ime Udoka. “Understanding that he was going to carry it on his shoulders, and we didn’t match that.”
Jason Tatum had 30 points and nine rebounds and Derrick White came off the bench to score 11 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter for Boston. The Celtics are trying to reach the final for the first time since 2010.
Boston’s Jaylen Brown scored 20 points, missing a pair of free throws with the game tied for 99 after Lowry was dismissed. Brown fouled himself on an offensive charge, which was assessed after a challenge on a missed dunk with 13 seconds left and the Celtics down to four.
Butler’s 47 points for a player facing elimination was the seventh-highest in NBA history.
Elgin Baylor scored 61 against Boston in Game 5 of the 1962 final. Wilt Chamberlain scored 50s three times, Sleepy Floyd scored 50 against the Lakers in 1987 and Jamal Murray scored 50 against Utah in 2020.
It was also the third highest player to prevent elimination against the Celtics. In addition to Baylor, Chamberlain scored 50 in Game 5 of the East Final in 1960.
James’ 45 against Boston in Game 6 of the 2012 Conference Finals set the stage for a Game 7 victory in Miami.
The Heat are hoping Butler’s performance can do the same.
“I get it, people can easily compare the two,” Spoelstra said. “It’s a different era. He’s a different team. I want our people to embrace this moment.”
inside and out
Miami guard Tyler Herro missed his third straight game with a strained groin, costing the team its No. 2 scorer. Kyle Lowry (hamstring), Max Strauss (hamstring) and PJ Tucker (knee) were listed as suspects but were in the starting lineup.
Boston’s Marcus Smart (sprained right ankle) and Robert Williams III (knee pain) had their injuries pre-tested and were also in the lineup.
Heat: Butler had 14 points, five rebounds and four assists in his first. He scored or assisted 24 of Miami’s 29 points in the quarter.
Celtics: Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, who was inducted into the ballclub’s Hall of Fame Thursday night, was on court. Ortiz threw a ceremonial first pitch at Fenway Park earlier in the evening. Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez was also in the game wearing his World Series ring.
More Associated Press NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports