The Boston Celtics finally failed Monday in their bid to become the first NBA team to come back from a 0-3 deficit to win a series.
After three straight victories in the Eastern Final, Boston was outshot the Miami Heat 103-84 in Game 7, though played in front of a fiery TD Garden.
The Heat thus advanced to the NBA Championship Series, joining the Denver Nuggets. The latter will host the first duel Thursday evening, at 8:30 p.m.
Jimmy Butler and Caleb Martin led the charge for Erik Spoelstra’s squad, amassing 28 and 26 points respectively.
At the other end of the court, Celtics star Jayson Tatum was held in check, contributing just 14 points, five more than Jaylen Brown’s 19.
“We stayed together”
The Floridians will be looking for their first title since winning the double in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, while Denver, who arrived in the NBA in 1976-1977, will seek to triumph for the first time in its history. .
“We stuck together,” Butler said of the torment he’s been through over the past 48 hours. “We are excited, but we still have four wins to go” to clinch the ring, added the MVP Eastern Association games.
Bam Adebayo had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Heat, who are the first eighth seed to play in a championship final since the New York Knicks in 1999. The top-seeded Nuggets have been waiting to hear their opponent since on May 22, when they swept the Los Angeles Lakers.
“Sometimes you have to suffer to get what you really want,” Spoelstra said. This group has shown the fortitude, when there are inevitable disappointments and failures, to have the perseverance to pick themselves up, to have this collective spirit to keep moving forward until we gets to accomplish what you want. »
Game 6 hero Derrick White scored 18 points for the Celtics, who were hoping to become the first NBA team to qualify after trailing 3-0 in a best-of-seven series. Jaylen Brown scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds, but only managed one three-pointer.
Tatum, who scored 51 points in Game 7 against the Philadelphia Sixers, sprained his ankle on the game’s first play and limped off for 42 minutes.
The Celtics led by five points early in the game before going 14-4 late in the first quarter and giving up 16 of the first 22 points in the second quarter.
The Celtics cut the deficit to seven points late in the third quarter, but the Heat took a 76-66 lead at the break and scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to take the lead for good.
“Last year was extremely painful,” added Spoelstra. We thought about it throughout the season. And if you don’t have such an opponent to take you to another level, sometimes you don’t. »
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