Find the nearest person who likes the Miami Heat and hug them. A Derrick White miracle has sent the series to a decisive Game 7 for the Boston Celtics.
White’s last-second tip-in earned the Celtics a 104-103 victory against the Heat in Game 6 on Saturday, erasing a 3-0 deficit in the Eastern Conference finals and setting up a winner-take-all Game 7 in Boston on Monday.
The TNT broadcast of Game 7 is set to begin at 8:30 p.m. ET.
By forcing a Game 7, the Celtics have already made history, joining the 2003 Portland Trail Blazers, the 1994 Denver Nuggets, and the 1951 New York Knicks as the only exception team to return from a 3-0 series deficit and win the series. However, they will soon find out if they are the first winning team in their group.
Celtics savior Derrick White
The Celtics nearly lost the game before the final buzzer, even though the Heat are in the midst of a collapse. By the middle of the last period, the Celtics had blown a 10-point advantage.
In a bizarre sequence of events, the Heat won by one point after a foul committed by Al Horford on Jimmy Butler with 2.1 seconds left, and the team up two points was reviewed to see whether or not Butler was behind the 3-point line. Butler was called for being out of bounds, earning him three free throws (which he converted on all three attempts) and reducing the clock to 3.0 seconds. That ended up being a huge problem.
After regaining possession, Marcus Smart took a last-ditch 3-point try for the Celtics but missed. The Miami faithful believed the game was over and started celebrating until Derrick White grabbed the rebound and scored the game-winning tip.
DERRICK WHITE FOR THE WIN 😱 pic.twitter.com/hinMigekhp
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 28, 2023
Derrick White’s heroic shot appeared too late, but a footage review revealed otherwise.
The Celtics Won, but It Was an Unattractive Victory
The Celtics looked like a top-tier squad playing a play-in team until roughly five minutes left in the fourth. But unlike the previous two games, they didn’t win this one thanks to a barrage of 3-pointers. Instead, it was a stifling defensive effort led by big Robert Williams and a poor night for Miami’s 2-point shooting.
Once unstoppable powers in this series, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo appeared to be mere shadows for much of this game. They were 5-for-29 from the field going into the final period. The Heat completed the game 13-of-34 from the field in the paint but shot well from beyond the arc (46.7%).
Meanwhile, the Celtics shot just 7-of-35 from outside the arc but won because of big games from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. The Heat defense had a tough time containing the two of them all game long, so they scored 57 points against the two.
Tatum NASTY lob to Time Lord 🥶
ECF Game 6 | Q2 LIVE on TNT pic.twitter.com/wJzP7tD8ue
— NBA (@NBA) May 28, 2023
The Celtics had a 13-point advantage in the third quarter, and the game should have been much more of a blowout. Instead, unheralded players like Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, Caleb Martin, and Duncan Robinson helped keep Miami in the game.
Late in the third and early in the fourth, the Heat continued pressing and even took the lead on a rare score by Butler in the paint.
JIMMY GIVES MIAMI THE LEAD!
GET TO TNT FOR Q4 OF GAME 6. pic.twitter.com/58dkYsAbm0
— NBA (@NBA) May 28, 2023
Celtics’ Resilience Prevails as Heat’s Rally Falls Short in Grueling Battle
Not for long, though. On the next possession, Brown scored to give the Celtics the lead again. A mere three minutes later, they had extended their lead to 10. And then the Warmth returned once more. But, of course, it might have been a completely different game if Robinson had made one of his two late 3-point attempts.
But he did, and even with Butler’s late free throws giving the Heat the lead again, they fell short. Despite the rally, they continued to appear outclassed by the Celtics. They seemed to be in a grueling struggle. But, of course, after winning the first three games with ease because of their superior shooting and hustling, the road to victory suddenly seemed much more difficult.
The Heat have a chance to avoid repeating the 2004 New York Yankees’ 3-0 deficit to Boston blowout by winning on Monday.
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