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Heat use 37-point fourth quarter to eliminate Celtics, win East Finals

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Bam Adebayo finished with 32 points, 14 rebounds and five assists.

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game Six Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Miami Heat held a small lead over the Boston Celtics for nearly all of Game 6, but the Celtics made a run to open the fourth quarter. With 9:15 left to go, Jaylen Brown stole the ball from Tyler Herro and made a breakaway layup to put the Celtics up six. Erik Spoelstra called a timeout.

Less than a minute later, Herro hit an open 3-pointer. On Miami’s ensuing possession, the 20-year-old rookie made a pullup jumper to tie the game. Then, Bam Adebayo drove to the rim for a filthy slam to give the Heat the lead back.

On Miami’s next trip down the floor, Adebayo connected on an and-one opportunity. Then, the third-year center found Jimmy Butler for a nice layup. About a minute later, the first-time 2020 All-Star found a wide-open Duncan Robinson for a 3. Miami had a five-point lead.

Robinson then stole the ball from Jayson Tatum, igniting a fast-break. Herro took the ball to the rim for a reverse layup. Miami went up 109-102 with 4:31 left to go.

Brad Stephens called a timeout, but the Heat kept pouring it on. Herro hit a bank shot to put the Heat up 112-102 with 3:31 left. Adebayo then found Butler for another layup, and the Heat were suddenly up 116-102. And then with two minutes to go, Adebayo found Duncan Robinson for a 3. Miami was up 119-104.

The Heat held on to win 125-113 and advance to the NBA Finals for the sixth time in the last 14 years. For Miami, the fourth-quarter performance of imposing their will on Boston was nothing short of amazing. Miami’s zone defense, which the Celtics carved up earlier in the game, was much tighter. The Heat’s dominance was reminiscent of their 40-point fourth-quarter in Game 3 of the Heat’s last series against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Bam Adebayo deserves the game ball for his performance. After struggling in Game 5, Adebayo dominated in the clincher. The Heat’s 2017 first-round pick finished with 32 points on 11-of-15 shooting from the field and 10-of-11 from the foul line. Adebayo also picked up 14 rebounds and five assists.

From his game-saving block on Tatum in overtime of Game 1 to this all-around performance, Adebayo was the best player in this series.

Butler added 22 points on 8-of-19 shooting from the field and 6-of-7 from the foul line. He was aggressive early, making several drives to the rim in the first quarter. He drifted from the game a bit offensively later in the game, but Butler brought solid two-way play on both sides of the ball. In the fourth quarter, he found opportunities to score.

Miami had a true balanced effort. Herro added 19 points off the bench, Robinson made five 3-pointers on the night, and Jae Crowder again made nice cuts to the basket and finished with nine points.

But Andre Iguodala was huge with four 3-pointers and score 15 points in 27 minutes off the bench. The Celtics purposefully left him open, and Iguodala made them pay. Every single time.

The Heat face the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 on Wednesday.