With their backs against the wall, when adversity struck like a swarm of lightning bolts on a dark, stormy night — the Miami Heat responded once again.
On the back of Heat superstar Jimmy Butler, the Miami Heat defeated the Boston Celtics 111-103 inside the TD Garden Friday, forcing a Game 7 on Sunday!
Butler led the Heat with 47 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and four steals, shooting 16-of-29 from the floor and 4-of-8 from 3-point range. He became the first player in NBA Playoff History with such stat line on 50 percent shooting or better, per Stathead. His 47 points were also the most in Heat playoff history in an elimination game.
An all-time performance. Regardless of what happens the rest of the way — this is one of the best performances in Heat playoff history. Something about Game 6’s in the Eastern Conference Finals — down 3-2 — in Boston, huh?
2012 ECF Game 6: Miami beat Boston to force Game 7.— Basketball Forever (@Bballforeverfb) May 28, 2022
LeBron James: 45 PTS, 15 REB & 5 AST
2022 ECF Game 6: Miami beat Boston to force Game 7.
Jimmy Butler: 47 PTS, 9 REB & 8 AST pic.twitter.com/G237F3mKKs
"Kyle, how would you describe Jimmy's game?"— Naveen Ganglani (@naveenganglani) May 28, 2022
Kyle: "It's fucking incredible!"
Butler’s series-alterning 47-point outing was just one of four Heat double digit performances. Kyle Lowry, bouncing back from his zero-point effort in Game 5, tallied 18 points on 5-of-14 shooting with four 3s, adding 10 assists, four rebounds, one steal and one block.
Max Strus finished with 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting with three triples (on eight attempts), snapping out of his abrupt shooting slump; P.J. Tucker had 11 points on 3-of-4 shooting, in addition to five rebounds, one assist and two steals; Bam Adebayo had just six points, but was his usual-impactful self on the defensive end, hauling in nine rebounds with a steal and finishing with a team-high plus-12 in the plus-minus category.
Miami shot 46.2 percent from the floor and 42.9 percent from beyond the arc, knocking down 15 3s (on 35 attempts) after shooting 25.9 percent from distance over the last two games.
Boston netted 44.4 percent of their attempts, including 33.3 percent of their 3-pointers and went 28-of-31 from the free-throw line.
Tatum topped the C’s with 30 points on 9-of-12 shooting with four 3s, adding nine rebounds, four assists, two steals and one block; Jaylen Brown totaled 20 points on 6-of-13 shooting with six rebounds, five assists and three steals; Derrick White had 22 points in 33 minutes off the bench with a series-high four 3-pointers; Marcus Smart had 14 points while Robert Williams had 12 points in 26 minutes.
The Heat, who led by as much as 13 in the second half, promptly lost the lead with over five minutes to go. Derrick White’s triple — his fourth of the night — gave Boston the 97-94 lead with 4:43 remaining, forcing a Heat timeout.
Lowry subsquently countered with a three of his own — and the Heat wouldn’t trail the rest of the night. With the game tied at 99, Butler attacked the rim and drew a tough and-1 over the outstretched Horford with 2:06 remaining.
Three free throws from Tucker followed by Butler’s ridiculous fadeaway jumper as the shot-clock expired put the Heat up six — 107-101 — with 43.9 remaining. Boston cut it to four, but couldn’t knock down it’s last couple of shots, as the Heat walked out of the Garden with a victory and a chance at an NBA Finals appearance on Sunday.
Be there, Miami. Sunday at 8:30 p.m. ET. We have ourselves a Game 7 — perhaps the best two words in professional sports.
For all the (eastern conference) marbles. Buckle up.