BOSTON (AP) — Jimmy Butler had 47 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, and the Miami Heat forced the Eastern Conference Finals to a deciding Game 7 by beating the Boston Celtics 111-103 on Friday night.
Ten years after LeBron James scored 45 points in Boston to help the Heat avoid elimination in Game 6 of the Conference Finals en route to the first of their consecutive NBA titles, Butler had 17 points in the fourth quarter to surpass him and send the series back to Miami.
With a home win on Sunday, the Heat would advance to the NBA Finals for the second time in three years.
In the most home and away game of the series, Boston took a 97-94 lead over Derrick White’s 3-pointer with less than five minutes left – the first time in the entire series the lead changed hands. in the fourth quarter. Kyle Lowry responded with a 3, then added two free throws as Miami scored 11 of the next 13 points.
Lowry finished with 18 points and 10 assists before committing a foul with 2:18 left. Butler made 16 of 29 shots, hitting 4 of 8 3-pointers and all 11 free throws.
Jayson Tatum had 30 points and nine rebounds, and Derrick White came off the bench to score 11 of his 22 fourth-quarter points for Boston. The Celtics are trying to reach the final for the first time since 2010.
Boston’s Jaylen Brown scored 20 points, missing a pair of free throws with the game tied at 99 after Lowry fouled. Brown fouled himself on a charging offense that was assessed after a challenge on a missed dunk with 13 seconds left and the Celtics down four.
IN AND OUT
Miami guard Tyler Herro missed his third straight game with a strained groin, which cost the team their No. 2 score. Kyle Lowry (hamstring), Max Strus (hamstring) and PJ Tucker ( knee) had been listed as questionable but were part of the starting lineup.
Boston’s Marcus Smart (sprained right ankle) and Robert Williams III (sore knee) tested their injuries before the game and were in training as well.
Heat: Butler’s 47 points are third to avoid elimination against the Celtics. Elgin Baylor scored 61 in Game 5 of 1962, and Wilt Chamberlain had 50 in Game 5 of 1960. … Butler had 14 points, five rebounds and four assists in the first. He scored or assisted on 24 of Miami’s 29 points in the quarter.
Celtics: Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, who was inducted into the ball club’s Hall of Fame on Thursday night, was on the field. Ortiz threw a ceremonial first pitch at Fenway Park earlier in the evening. Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez was also present at the game, wearing his World Series ring.
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