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Butler, Heat send series to 7th game

by The Associated Press | May 28, 2022 at 2:40 a.m.
Derrick White (center) of the Boston Celtics loses control of the ball between the Miami Heat’s Gabe Vincent (left) and Bam Adebayo during the first half of Game 6 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals on Friday night in Boston. Miami won 111-103 to force a Game 7. More photos at arkansasonline.com/528game6/ (AP/Michael Dwyer)

BOSTON -- Kyle Lowry listened politely while Jimmy Butler shared the credit for Miami's Game 6 victory until his fellow All-Star took the humility too far and called his 47-point, elimination-avoiding performance "decent."

"It's incredible," Lowry said. "It's incredible to have a guy like him next to me. I've played with some great players, and he's one of the best."

Butler scored 47 points -- a career playoff high and one of the best performances by a player facing elimination in NBA history -- and the Heat forced the Eastern Conference finals to a decisive seventh game by beating the Boston Celtics 111-103 on Friday night.

Ten years after LeBron James scored 45 points in a Game 6 in Boston en route to the first of the Heat's back-to-back NBA titles, Butler scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to top him and send the series back to Miami.

With a victory at home, the Heat would advance to the NBA Finals for the second time in three years.

"This is the way it should be, with these two teams. It should have gone seven games," Miami Coach Erik Spoelstra said. "I'm just really thrilled that our group gets an opportunity to compete in a Game 7 in front of our home crowd."

The winner of Game 7 on Sunday will advance to the NBA Finals against Golden State, which eliminated the Dallas Mavericks in five games Thursday night. Warriors forward Draymond Green said afterward that he expected to play the Celtics.

In the most back-and-forth game of the series, Boston took a 97-94 lead on Derrick White's three-pointer with under five minutes to play -- the first time all series the lead has changed hands in the fourth quarter. Lowry answered with a three-pointer and then added two free throws as Miami scored 11 of the next 13 points.

Lowry finished with 18 points and 10 assists before fouling out with 2:18 left. Butler made 16 of 29 shots -- including 4 of 8 from three-point range -- and all 11 free throws.

"He came out from the jump and kind of put his imprint on the game," White said. "That's just who he's been his whole career, constantly attacking and doing what he does to help his team win. We knew it was coming, and we've got to do a better job in Game 7."

Jayson Tatum had 30 points and nine rebounds for Boston, and White came off the bench to score 11 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter. The Celtics are trying to reach the finals for the first time since 2010, two years after the New Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen won the franchise's 17th NBA title -- a record since tied by the Lakers.

"It's no secret: It's Game 7, trip to the NBA Finals, a lot on the line," Tatum said. "We know what's at stake. We know how much this means to everybody."

Jaylen Brown scored 20 points for Boston, missing a pair of free throws with the game tied at 99 after Lowry fouled out. Brown fouled out himself on a charge offensive that was assessed after a challenge on a missed dunk with 13 seconds left and the Celtics down by four.


At a glance

CONFERENCE FINALS

FRIDAY’S GAME

Miami 111, Boston 103

SUNDAY’S GAME All times Central

Boston at Miami, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Series tied 3-3


  photo  Miami Heat's Jimmy Butler (22) shoots against Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum (0) during the second half of Game 6 of the NBA basketball playoffs Eastern Conference finals Friday, May 27, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
 
 
  photo  Miami Heat's Jimmy Butler shoots against Boston Celtics' Robert Williams III (44) during the second half of Game 6 of the NBA basketball playoffs Eastern Conference finals Friday, May 27, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
 
 
  photo  Boston Celtics' Al Horford (42) and Derrick White (9) double-team Miami Heat's Jimmy Butler (22) during the second half of Game 6 of the NBA basketball playoffs Eastern Conference finals Friday, May 27, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
 
 
  photo  Miami Heat's Jimmy Butler hugs P.J. Tucker (17) after the Heat defeated the Boston Celtics 111-103 during Game 6 of the NBA basketball playoffs Eastern Conference finals Friday, May 27, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
 
 
  photo  Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum (0) shoots against Miami Heat's Jimmy Butler (22) during the first half of Game 6 of the NBA basketball playoffs Eastern Conference finals Friday, May 27, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
 
 
  photo  Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum reacts to a call during the second half of Game 6 of the team's NBA basketball playoffs Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat, Friday, May 27, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
 
 
  photo  The Boston Celtics bench watches play during the second half of Game 6 of the team's NBA basketball playoffs Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat, Friday, May 27, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
 
 
  photo  Miami Heat's Kyle Lowry (7) fouls Boston Celtics' Marcus Smart (36) during the first half of Game 6 of the NBA basketball playoffs Eastern Conference finals Friday, May 27, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
 
 
  photo  Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum dunks against the Miami Heat during the first half of Game 6 of the NBA basketball playoffs Eastern Conference finals Friday, May 27, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
 
 



 Gallery: Game 6, Miami vs. Boston



Print Headline: Butler, Heat send series to 7th game

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