NBA Conference Finals

Jimmy Butler comes alive as Heat drag Celtics to Game 7

Jimmy Butler comes alive as Heat drag Celtics to Game 7

BUCKETS. Jimmy Butler keeps the Heat in the hunt for a place in the NBA Finals with a masterpiece of a performance against the Celtics.

Brian Fluharty/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Jimmy Butler erupts for 47 points and flirts with a triple-double to help the Heat stave off elimination against the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals

Jimmy Butler set a personal playoff-high with 47 points and contributed 9 rebounds, 8 assists, and 4 steals to lead the Miami Heat to a 111-103 victory over the host Boston Celtics that tied the Eastern Conference finals at 3-3 on Friday, May 27 (Saturday, May 28, Manila time).

Butler had scored just 27 points over the previous three games before erupting during a must-win situation in Game 6. He shot 16-of-29 from the field – including 4-of-8 from three-point range – and sank all 11 free throw attempts while reaching the 40-point mark for the second time in this series and the fourth time in the postseason.

Kyle Lowry recorded 18 points and 10 assists before fouling out for the Heat. Max Strus scored 13 points and PJ Tucker added 11.

Jayson Tatum registered 30 points and 9 rebounds, Derrick White scored 22 points, and Jaylen Brown added 20 for Boston. Marcus Smart had 14 points and Robert Williams III tallied 12 for the Celtics.

Game 7 is Sunday night in Miami.

Butler converted a tiebreaking three-point play to give Miami a 102-99 lead with 2:06 remaining. Tucker made 3 of 4 free throws during a 20-second span to make it a six-point margin with 1:25 left.

Butler’s jumper with 43.9 seconds left provided another six-point lead and the Heat closed it out.

Miami guard Tyler Herro (groin) missed his third straight game. Herro won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award for this season.

The Heat shot 46.2% from the field, including 15-of-35 from three-point range. Miami was 24-of-25 from the free throw line.

Boston hit 44.4% of its shots and was 11-of-33 from behind the arc. The Celtics were 28-of-31 from the line.

Miami used a 13-2 spurt in the third quarter to open up a 70-58 lead with 5:31 left. Victor Oladipo and Strus canned back-to-back three-pointers to cap the run.

The Heat pushed their advantage to 13 on a pair free throws by Oladipo with 2:08 left and settled for an 82-75 lead entering the final stanza.

Boston’s Al Horford buried with a trey to tie it at 94 with 5:31 left. White followed with a three-pointer to give Boston a 97-94 edge with 4:43 left before the Heat controlled the final minutes.

Butler had 21 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists as Miami led 48-46 at the break. Tatum and Brown scored 18 first-half points apiece for the Celtics. –

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