Derrick White scored in a rebound with 0.1 seconds left and the Boston Celtics came close to the greatest comeback in NBA knockout history, holding the Miami Heat 104-103 on the night. Saturday to force Game 7 in the Eastern Conference finals.
Jayson Tatum scored 31 points, Jaylen Brown scored 26 and Marcus Smart added 21 points for the Celtics, who became the only fourth NBA team to erase a 3-0 loss in a best-of-seven series and were forced to enter a decisive match. The others in that club — the 1951 New York Knicks in the NBA Finals, the 1994 Denver Nuggets in the second round, and the 2003 Portland Trail Blazers in the first round — all lost Game 7, all on road.
However, Boston will return home to make history. Game 7 is on Monday night at the Celtics, a game that will decide who meets Western Conference champion Denver Nuggets in a series of titles that will begin on Thursday.
Jimmy Butler made three free throws with 3.0 seconds left to lead the Heat by one point. Smart missed 3 points, but White caught the rebound and scored when time ran out.
Butler scored 24 and Caleb Martin got 21 for the Heat, who are trying to make their own unlikely journey to the title series by being only the second 8th seed to reach the NBA Finals. . Now, they’ve lost as many games this week – three – as many as they’ve lost in the first 14 playoffs this spring combined en route to toppling No. 1 Milwaukee, then No. 5 New York and then No. took what should have been an insurmountable 3-0 lead against the second-seeded Celtics.
The Celtics have now won five of their last six Eastern Finals in Miami – a period that includes Game 7 against the Heat last season to reach the NBA Finals.
That, apparently, ended the Heat season. At least for now, Miami still has a chance.
The Heat were the 151st team to lead a 3-0 series in the seventh half. All the previous 150 clubs have completed the job. But the Celtics have made it very clear that they have other ideas.
Celtics: The Celtics are out 5-0 this season, 3-0 along the way. They beat Philadelphia twice on their way to erasing their 3–2 lead in the Eastern finals, and have now ended the series. ΓÇª Malcolm Brogdon (right arm strain) was demoted about an hour before game time.
The Heat: Diddy joined the game, as did former Heat guard Goran Dragic and Florida Panthers star Matthew Tkachuk. ΓÇª Unless Miami wins Game 7 in Boston, this could be the last home game of Heat striker Udonis Haslem’s 20-year career. The Heat are 613-297 in their 910 home games with Haslem on the roster; that doesn’t include the home games of the restart bubble in 2020.
GAME HISTORY 7
The Celtics are leading 27-9 in Game 7, they’ve won their last four games — including one in Miami last season and one earlier this season, against Philadelphia in the Eastern semifinals. They have always drawn 1-1 to the Heat in such games (losing the decisive 2012 Eastern Finals in Miami) and 22-5 at home in Game 7.
The Heat are leading 6-5 full-time in Game 7, having lost their last two games (home to Boston in 2022, at Toronto in 2016) and are down 0-2 in the face of such a game on the road. Besides the game against the Raptors seven years ago, they lost a seventh game in Atlanta in 2009.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra used a challenge early in the third half, after Martin was called up for a foul on a play Brown had scored. Miami claims Brown hooked Martin; The umpires, upon review, said Martin had not fouled – but still counted the basket and the Heat lost.