In what will go down as one of the best Game 7 contests in the history of the NBA playoffs, the Miami Heat fell one game short of another appearance in the Finals.
Miami got another monster night from forward Jimmy Butler and his 35 points, but the Boston Celtics came out on top with a 100-96 win to bring home the Eastern Conference championship and advance to the NBA Finals for the 22nd time.
Boston started the game on a 24-9 run, including three point baskets from forward Jayson Tatum , guard Marcus Smart and center Al Horford. A basket from Butler and four point play got Miami back on the board and helped cut the deficit to seven points before the Celtics took a 32-17 lead after the first quarter.
Miami would cut the deficit down to six points in the second quarter, but a three pointer from Boston's Derrick White gave the Celtics a 16 point lead. The Heat would go on a 15-5 run, helped by Butler and his 24 first half points, and trailed 55-49 at halftime.
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A three pointer from guard Max Strus would cut the deficit to two points early in the third quarter before Boston went on a 9-1 run to extend the lead. The three pointer was later taken back after it was ruled Strus had stepped out of bounds.
Both teams would exchange baskets before a three pointer from Smart extended the lead to 14 points for the Celtics. Miami would go on a 7-0 run on baskets from Butler, center Bam Adebayo and a three pointer from Victor Oladipo to cut the deficit to seven as Boston took a 82-75 lead into the fourth quarter.
Back-to-back baskets from Adebayo and Butler cut the deficit to three points early in the final quarter. The Celtics increased their lead to 12 points with under six minutes left after a three pointer from Tatum before a Oladipo basket cut the deficit to seven.
Guard Kyle Lowry's layup cut the deficit to five points with one minute left while a three point basket from Strus cut the deficit to two points. Butler would have a chance to give the Heat a lead, but his missed three point attempt with 16 seconds left sealed Miami's fate.
Adebayo added 25 points while Lowry had 15 points for a Heat team that shot just 20 percent in the game from three point range. Tatum lead Boston with 26 points while Smart and Brown added 24 points each.
Boston will now advance to play the Golden State Warriors, with Game 1 of that series taking place Thursday.