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The Boston Celtics eliminated the Miami Heat (3-4) on Sunday, beating them on the road in a thrilling Game 7 of the East finals (96-100), and will play the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors.
The Celtics, who have 17 rings (the most successful team in history along with the Los Angeles Lakers), had not reached the NBA Finals since losing in 2010 precisely to the purple and gold.
The first game of the Finals will be played on Thursday, June 2 at the Warriors’ home court in San Francisco.
After missing the opportunity to close out the East Finals in Boston in Game 6 on the strength of 47 points from an extraordinary Jimmy Butler, the Celtics came out on top Sunday in a thrilling Game 7 in Miami that wasn’t decided until the final seconds.
Boston was ahead on the scoreboard all night long, but an awkward and sloppy finish by the Celtics allowed the Heat to pull within just 2 points in the final minute after trailing by 13 with 3:35 to go.
Jayson Tatum (26 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists), Jaylen Brown (24 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists), and Marcus Smart (24 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists) were the Celtics’ top performers.
In addition, Tatum won the Larry Bird award for the MVP of the East Finals.
For the Heat, Jimmy Butler (35 points and 9 rebounds) and Bam Adebayo (25 points and 11 rebounds) were too lonely in Miami’s offense for most of the game (Kyle Lowry was the third-highest scorer with 15 points).
Especially commendable was the effort of Butler, who did not rest for a single second and played all 48 minutes of the game.
The Celtics will have the home court factor against the resurgent Warriors of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who will play their sixth Finals in eight years (three rings in that period) after missing the playoffs in the last two seasons due to an injury ordeal.