NBA Conference Finals

Heat send Celtics packing, set up NBA Finals date with Lakers

Delfin Dioquino
Heat send Celtics packing, set up NBA Finals date with Lakers

Bam Adebayo. Photo from Twitter/@NBAHistory

The Heat return to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2014 as they beat the Celtics in 6 games

Only a few expected the Miami Heat to make it this far, yet they are going back to the NBA Finals.

The Heat redeemed themselves from their previous loss with a 125-113 win over the Boston Celtics to wrap up the NBA Eastern Conference finals in 6 games on Sunday, September 27 (Monday, September 28, Manila time).

Blaming himself for their Game 5 defeat, Bam Adebayo delivered his finest game in the playoffs with 32 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 assists as the Heat return to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2014.

The last time the Heat advanced to the NBA Finals came during the era of LeBron James, who will now be on the other side as he seeks to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a title.

“I couldn’t let my teammates down like I did in the game before,” Adebayo said. “I just went out there and tried to execute and make plays and I did that tonight.”

Adebayo glued things together for the Heat in crunch time, creating opportunities on offense and disrupting the Celtics on defense.

The third-year big man scored 5 straight points to put the Heat up 101-100 early in the 4th quarter and issued 3 assists, the last on a Duncan Robinson three-pointer for a 119-104 lead with two minutes left.

After trailing 90-96, the Heat outscored the Celtics 35-17 in the final 9 minutes.

Jimmy Butler put up 22 points and 8 assists for the Heat, rookie Tyler Herro chimed in 19 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds, Duncan Robinson had 15 points, while Goran Dragic added 13 points and 7 assists.

Andre Iguodala came off the bench and contributed 15 points and 2 steals in the win as he reaches the NBA Finals for the sixth straight season.

“This group, more than anything, they just love to compete,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said as the Eastern Conference trophy was presented.

Jaylen Brown chalked up 26 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 steals to lead the Celtics, who suffered their third conference finals exit in the last 4 seasons, while Jayson Tatum chipped in 24 points, 11 assists, and 7 rebounds.

The Celtics had two other players who breached the 20-point plateau in Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart but their inability to protect their lead for the nth time in the series sealed their fate.

“Bam made sure that we won the game tonight,” Butler said.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said the 23-year-old Adebayo’s determination and the Heat’s physicality were simply too much at the end.

“They’re strong, they’re physical, they’re tough and [Adebayo] in particular dominated that 4th quarter,” Stevens said. “Even the plays he didn’t score his presence was so impactful.”  – with a report from Agence France-Presse

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.