Lake Buena Vista, Fla. –The Miami Heat are heading to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2014, with a 125-113 win over the Boston Celtics.
Miami won the series 4-2 — and now, waiting on to take stage to decide the NBA title, are King Kames and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is Wednesday night.
“A great series. It was so competitive,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I mean, in many ways, this was a seven-game series, just how competitive it was. Extremely well-coached and well-put together and we are just honored to be a part of that type of series in the conference finals, and then we get an opportunity for the next stage. Our guys will look forward to it. We’re going to try to enjoy it for a night.”
After a tight game through three quarters, Miami dominated the fourth, outscoring Boston 37-27 to seal the victory.
Jaylen Brown had 26 points, Jayson Tatum scored 24 and a career-high 11 assists, and Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker each scored 20 points for the Celtics — which lost in the Eastern finals for the third time in the last four seasons.
“Miami deserves a lot of credit,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “They’re super physical, super tough, very, very savvy. I think they’re the best team in the East and deserve to be representing the East in the way that they have played.”
Miami went 5-for-5 from downtown in the first quarter, but otherwise struggled again from beyond the arc in the first half. They were 6 for 14 from deep in the first 24 minutes of the game, the Celtics was 11 for 23 before the break and the Heat took a 62-60 lead into the locker room.
Bam Adebayo turned in a huge performance to close out the series, with 32 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists, leading six Heat players in double figures. Jimmy Butler scored 22 points and was a load down the stretch.
The Heat was down by six points early in the fourth before regaining control. A 6-0 run — Herro had the last five of those points, needing only 31 seconds to do so — tied it at 96. The Celtics took the lead twice more, with Adebayo answering both times, first with a slam, then a go-ahead three-point play with 6:16 left.
Miami tighten up on their defense on the perimeter and never trailed again. Herro had a pair of baskets in a 9-0 run that put the Heat up by 10 points, Adebayo found Butler for a easy bunny and a 116-102 lead everyone on the Heat bench was on their feet.
Tyler Herro scored 19 points, Andre Iguodala and Duncan Robinson each had 15 and Goran Dragic added 13 for the Heat.
And before long, all the Celtics could do was offer their congratulations.
“Regrets, I don’t have any,” Walker said. “I don’t have any, man. I thought we fought hard. A lot of credit to Miami. Those guys are really good.”
The Heat are the only NBA franchise with six Finals appearances in the last 15 years. They’re seeking their fourth title, and this chance didn’t come easily.
“This group, more than anything, they just love to compete,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said during the trophy celebration.