The Miami Heat will have to try and win a third road game in the Eastern Conference Finals after coming 0.1 seconds away from reaching the NBA Finals.
Derrick White’s season-saving tip-in at the buzzer gave the Celtics a 104-103 win in Game 6, avoiding a catastrophic loss for Boston and delivering a gut-punch to the Heat at the same time. That the Celtics even needed that play was unbelievable, as they led by as many as 13 and dominated play for most of the night. However, their cold shooting (7-of-35 from three) and Miami’s “others” stepping up kept things close until Jimmy Butler finally got himself involved as a scorer in the fourth quarter.
Butler scored 15 of his 24 points in the fourth, as he finally got more aggressive attacking the paint and drawing fouls. Butler was 12-of-14 on free throws, including the three makes with three seconds to go to give Miami the lead, but he was just 5-of-21 from the field and didn’t look like his normal self for the first three quarters. Given Boston’s shooting woes, the Heat will feel like they missed a great opportunity to end the series and advance to the Finals, but the struggles of their stars for most of the night kept them from ever taking advantage of Boston’s rough shooting.
Butler agreed with that assessment, explaining after the game that his message to the team was that “if I play better, we’re not even in this position.”
While Butler tries to spin this positively, insisting he’s not going to have another night this bad in Game 7, you also have to expect Boston to shoot better at home. Whatever team lost tonight was going to feel like it was a missed opportunity. Boston would’ve lost the series in a game Jimmy and Bam Adebayo were non-factors for most of the night offensively. Miami did lose the game on a night Boston shot 20 percent from three and Jayson Tatum didn’t have a second half made field goal. That’s going to be tough to bounce back from, and while Butler is right to try and keep things positive right now for the good of the team, there’s plenty of reason to wonder if this will end up as the game that got away from Miami.