Celtics vs Heat: Boston beats Miami in Game 7 to reach NBA Finals for first time in 12 years

Celtics vs Heat: Boston beats Miami in Game 7 to reach NBA Finals for first time in 12 years

The Celtics twice opened a double-digit lead and seemed to run away with the win, but backed by a boisterous home crowd, Miami twice pulled back and even had a late chance to win.

With the Heat trailing by two points, star forward Jimmy Butler opted to make a three-point transition with 14 seconds remaining on the clock, only to have his effort fall short and latch onto the front of the rim.

Marcus Smart was then fouled after Al Horford got the rebound from the Celtics and then made both of his free throws to secure the victory and set up a final meeting with the Golden State Warriors.

“We’ve been through a lot of adversity this year. We’re a resilient group and tonight felt like our season,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said, according to Reuters.

“We never seem to be able to close the door and have to sort it all out. It’s a typical Celtics win.”

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Jayson Tatum holds aloft the inaugural Larry Bird MVP trophy.

Jayson Tatum, who won the inaugural Larry Bird Trophy as Eastern Conference Finals MVP, led the Celtics with 26 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.

For Game 7, Tatum wore an armband in the colors of the Celtics’ bitter rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers, wearing the No. 24 of his late “idol” Kobe Bryant.

“He was my inspiration, my favorite player,” Tatum told reporters. “The shoes I wore in the last two games were dedicated to him.

“Today before taking my nap – I do sometimes – I was watching a movie, some moments of him and his career. This is the biggest game of my career so far and I wanted to wear this armband to honor him. and kind of share this moment in some way.”

Tatum was buoyed by a big night from Marcus Smart, who finished with 24 points, nine rebounds and five assists, and Jaylen Brown, who had 24 points, six rebounds and six assists.

For the Heat, Butler continued his superb playoff form and led his team with 35 points and nine rebounds. Butler had gone over 40 points twice in that series to lead Miami in Game 7, but said he was unhappy with his performance on Sunday.

Butler missed a crucial three in the final moments of the game.

“Not good enough,” Butler said. “I didn’t do my job… stats mean nothing. The Boston Celtics went out and did what they had to do in the series.

“I learned that I have to be better and I will be better.”

Bam Adebayo, who finished with 25 points, 11 rebounds and four assists, perhaps best summed up how Miami felt after the game.

In an instant caught on camera, Adebayo ripped off his shirt as he walked back to the locker room and said, “F**k.”

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