BOSTON — Jimmy Butler scored 28 points and Caleb Martin had 26 points and 10 rebounds in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference finals on Monday night (Tuesday, Manila time) to help the Miami Heat beat the Celtics, 103-84, and turn back Boston’s attempt at an unprecedented comeback.
The Heat recovered after blowing a 3-0 lead in the series and advanced to the NBA Finals for the second time in four seasons. They will face the Western Conference champion Nuggets, with Game One in Denver on Thursday night.
Bam Adebayo scored 12 points with 10 rebounds for Miami, which is the first No. 8 seed to play for a championship since the 1999 New York Knicks. Top-seeded Denver has been waiting since sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers on May 22.
Game 6 hero Derrick White scored 18 for Boston, which was hoping to become the first NBA team ever to advance after falling behind 0-3 in a best-of-seven series. Jaylen Brown scored 19 with eight rebounds but went 1 for 9 from 3-point range.
Jayson Tatum, who scored a Game 7 record 51 points against Philadelphia in the conference semis, had 14 points with 11 rebounds after turning his ankle on the first play of the game and limping through 42 minutes.
The Celtics led by five points early before conceding a 14-4 run to end the first quarter and then giving up 16 of the first 22 points in the second. Boston cut the deficit to seven points late in the third, but Miami took a 76-66 lead at the break and scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to pull away.