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Celtics Season Ends, Miami Heat Advances to the Finals
In the decisive Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Miami Heat beat the Boston Celtics 103-84, thus securing their spot in the NBA Finals. After initially building a 3-0 lead in the series, the Heat saw the Celtics fight back to tie it at 3-3. Despite the pressure, the Heat managed to avoid becoming the first team in NBA history to lose a series after leading 3-0. This was only the fourth time a team had managed to force a Game 7 in such circumstances, but Boston failed to complete the historic comeback.
Miami's victory was a testament to their resilience. They became the second No. 8 seed in NBA history to reach the NBA Finals, the first being the New York Knicks in the 1999 lockout-shortened season. The team's journey to the finals was filled with suspense as each game and quarter unfolded, but they managed to pull away in the fourth quarter of Game 7. Miami is now set to face the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Finals, marking their second Finals appearance in four seasons.
Jimmy Butler was instrumental in Miami's victory, scoring 28 points along with seven rebounds, six assists, and three steals. His back-to-back baskets early in the fourth quarter helped Miami establish a significant lead. Other notable performances from the Heat included Caleb Martin's 26 points on 11-for-16 shooting (including 4-for-6 on 3-pointers) and Bam Adebayo's double-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists. Miami had an impressive shooting night, making 50% of their 3-point attempts (14-for-28).
On the other hand, the Celtics' season ended disappointingly. Despite managing to push the series to Game 7, the team fell short of expectations. All-NBA star Jayson Tatum was noticeably struggling with a twisted left ankle suffered early in the game, but still managed to contribute 14 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists. Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 18 points but also committed eight turnovers. Overall, Boston struggled offensively, missing their first 12 3-point attempts and shooting just 21.4% on 42 3-point attempts. They trailed by as much as 17 points in the second quarter and never managed to recover1.