By JIMMY GOLEN, AP Sports Writer
BOSTON (AP) – Jimmy Butler scored 47 points, nine rebounds and eight assists and the Miami Heat forced the Eastern Conference Finals to a decisive seventh game 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 from the 6th game on the way to their first consecutive NBA title, Butler scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to beat 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.
“This is how it should be, with these two teams. It should have been seven games, “said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra.
In the round-robin game of the series, Boston was 97-94 ahead of Derrick White’s triple with less than five minutes to play, the first time all series have changed hands in the fourth quarter. . Kyle Lowry responded with a 3 and then added two free throws while Miami scored 11 of the next 13 points.
Lowry finished with 18 points and 10 assists before missing with 2:18 at the end. Butler made 16 of 29 shots, hitting 4 of 8 from 3-point range and 11 free throws.
“There wasn’t the same intensity from the start,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. “Understanding that he was going to be put on his shoulders and we didn’t agree.”
Jayson Tatum scored 30 points and nine rebounds and Derrick White came off the bench to score 11 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter 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 started a foul. Brown fouled himself on a charge offense that was assessed after a challenge in a failed kill with 13 seconds left and the Celtics by four.
Butler’s 47 points were the seventh most in NBA history for a player facing elimination.
Elgin Baylor had 61 against Boston in the fifth game of the 1962 final. Wilt Chamberlain surpassed 50 three times, Sleepy Floyd scored 50 against the Lakers in 1987 and Jamal Murray scored 50 against Utah in 2020.
He was also the third most to avoid elimination against the Celtics. In addition to Baylor, Chamberlain had 50 in the fifth game of the Eastern Final in 1960.
James ’45 against Boston in the sixth game of the 2012 conference final set the stage for the seventh game win in Miami.
The Heat hope Butler’s performance can do the same.
“I get it, people can easily draw comparisons between the two,” Spoelstra said. “This is a different time. It’s a different team. I want our guys to accept that moment.”
Miami baseman Tyler Herro missed his third straight game with a groin strain, which cost the team its second top scorer. Kyle Lowry (hamstring), Max Strus (hamstring) and PJ Tucker (knee) had been listed as questionable, but were in the starting lineup.
Boston’s Marcus Smart (right ankle sprain) and Robert Williams III (knee pain) tested their injuries before the game and were also in lineup.
Heat: 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 fourth.
Celtics: Red Sox hitter David Ortiz, who was inducted into the Ball Club Hall of Fame on Thursday night, was on the court. Ortiz launched a first ceremonial launch at Fenway Park in the early hours of the evening. Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez was also in the game, wearing his World Series ring.
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