Back to Boston.
The Boston Celtics rallied for a 104-103 victory in Game 6 of the 2022-23 NBA Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat at the Amway Center in Miami, Florida, U.S., on Monday (Feb. 28), eventually tying the series with a third straight win after losing three straight. Game 7 will now decide who advances to the Finals.
Jayson Tatum (31 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, and two blocked shots) had a huge game. Supporting fire from Jaylen Brown (26 points, 10 rebounds) and Marcus Smart (21 points, 4 rebounds) also shined, albeit a bit shaky. The dominance of Al Horford (4 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocked shots) and Robert Williams III (10 points, 7 rebounds) also contributed to the win. Derrick White’s (11 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists) game-winning buzzer-beater was the icing on the cake.
Miami got a fourth-quarter one-man show from Jimmy Butler (24 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists) and a split effort from Caleb Martin (21 points, 15 rebounds) and Gabe Vincent (15 points, four rebounds), but still fell from 3-0 to 3-3 and a Game 7.
Boston got off to a great start. They shot 59.1 percent from the field in the first quarter alone and wore down Miami’s defense. The Tatum and Brown one-two punch was unstoppable. Williams III capitalized on mismatches to get to the basket, and Smart’s three-point arsenal was on fire. The first quarter ended with a 34-29 lead.
Boston faltered briefly at the start of the second quarter. Vincent, who had been quiet in the first quarter, hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cut into the lead. A Brown miscue followed, and they found themselves in a hole.
That’s when Tatum stepped up. He completely destroyed Butler and set the tone for the game. His blatant hunting, coupled with a nice alley-oop dunk from Williams III, allowed him to single-handedly lead the offense in the second quarter. The Vincent-led Miami offense chipped away at Boston’s lead, but the Heat ended the second quarter with a four-point lead, 57-53.
Early in the third quarter, the Heat faltered as Miami rallied behind Martin. Brown’s fouls mounted and the team fouled out. Smart’s crunch-time three-point shooting got them back on track. Williams III’s vertical defense and the reintroduced Brown’s scoring rush kept Boston in the game. They took a 79-72 lead into the third quarter.
Boston fell victim to Miami’s inside-outside explosion early in the fourth quarter, falling behind for the first time since the first quarter, 82-83, but the Heat capitalized on Miami’s self-inflicted wounds. Adebayo’s technical foul after a post-goaltending protest, followed by Lowry’s shooting foul, changed the momentum. Horford blocked Adebayo’s perfect scoring opportunity to push the lead back to five, 88-83.
With the game on the line, Boston’s cleverness shone through. Robinson gave up a steal, but his lax defense set up Smart for an and-one. White’s three-pointer was on fire. The score was 98-88. Miami ran an early offense around Butler, but Boston responded with Tatum drawing a foul and driving away.
Butler’s run left the Heat in a panic. 안전놀이터 That’s when Brown came up with a golden offensive rebound and foul free throw to give them some breathing room. Butler hit a three-pointer and the Heat were on the verge of losing the game, but Robinson’s three-pointer was off the mark. A Miami foul and a missed free throw by Smart kept the game close until the final seconds. Down 102-100, the Heat fouled Butler on a 3-pointer with just over a minute to play, giving them a 102-103 lead. However, a missed three-pointer by Smart at the buzzer was followed by a steal by White to complete the dramatic comeback win.