The Miami Heat are Eastern Conference Champions once again!
Closing off Game 6 with a huge 31-10 run over a seven-minute stretch late in the fourth quarter, the Heat clinched their sixth NBA Finals appearance in franchise history and the first since 2014 with a 125-113 Game 6 win over the Boston Celtics.
Bam Adebayo was the team's star with a career-high 32 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists on an efficient 11-of-15 shooting from the field. Jimmy Butler had 22 points and eight assists as four other players also scored in double figures for Miami.
For the Celtics, Jayson Tatum was their best performer with 24 points, 11 assists, and seven rebounds. Boston had three other players score 20 or more but they had no response to the Heat's late surge.
For more on this game, here are few quick observations:
1. Boston hangs around early despite Tatum's slow start
The Celtics trailed as many as nine in the first quarter but by the end of the first 12 minutes, they were only down six (33-27) despite a scoreless period for Jayson Tatum.
This was the All-Star's third straight scoreless first quarter.
Jayson Tatum has shot 0-13 in the first quarter in his last 3 games, including 0-5 in Game 6.- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 28, 2020
All 5 of his attempts were contested, and he was 0-4 against Jae Crowder. He entered tonight shooting 41% with Crowder as his primary defender. pic.twitter.com/EfHGlKjsw5
Jaylen Brown was the team's top scorer in the first quarter with 10 points while for the Heat, every one of their eight players to enter the game scored - led by six points apiece from Jimmy Butler, Andre Iguodala, and Bam Adebayo.
2. Bam leads Miami's balanced offense early
The Heat countered the Celtics 3-point shooting with their 23-of-41 (56.1%) shooting from the field in the first half. Seven of the eight Miami players that entered the game had at least six points led by the All-Star duo of Adebayo (16 points; 5-6 FGs) and Butler.
The All-star duo at the half:- Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) September 28, 2020
💥 16 Pts | 3 Rebs | 1 Stl
☕ 13 Pts | 2 Rebs | 4 Asts | 1 Stl pic.twitter.com/eZ7LbrTXxz
After the first 24 minutes, they led 62-60.
3. Tatum, 3s keep Celtics in it at the half
Jayson Tatum came alive in the second period, scoring all of his 12 first-half points in the period. That's not all, he stuffed the stat sheet by adding to his four first-quarter assists to finish with eight at the half.
Jayson Tatum steal and slam from the #OculusFrontRowView! #NBAPlayoffs- NBA (@NBA) September 28, 2020
12 PTS, 6 REB, 8 AST at halftime for J.T. on ESPN pic.twitter.com/DOQS1BtjNj
Boston made their run in the second quarter by outscoring the Heat 33-29 in the period. They took the lead a couple of times and remained in the game courtesy of their franchise record 11 3-pointers in the first half. Marcus Smart, tied for a team-high 12 points at the half, had the most 3-pointers for the team with four.
🔥🔥 @smart_MS3 with 4 threes already🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/voSLnMcE1o- Boston Celtics (@celtics) September 28, 2020
4. Andre Iguodala lighting it up from distance
For veteran Andre Iguodala, a sixth Finals appearance was on the line and he certainly came out on fire. He knocked down his first five shots, four from 3-point land.
Andre Iguodala's a perfect 4-4 from 3-point land! 🔥🔥@celtics 74@MiamiHEAT 82- NBA (@NBA) September 28, 2020
📺: ESPN pic.twitter.com/uOjnkoMjDn
At the 4:19 mark of the third quarter, he had 14 points and his fourth three gave the Heat an 82-74 lead, their largest second-half lead up to that point. He was a game-high +10 at this point through 14 minutes of play. He finished with 15 points for the game.
5. Celtics' D sparks 22-8 run
After that Iguodala 3-pointer, the Heat led by eight points for a couple of minutes before the Celtics rallied back. Over the next 7:05 minutes, Boston went on a 22-8 run.
They went from trailing 82-74, the Celtics went on to lead 96-90 in a run that was sparked by their defence.
COBRA STRIKE 🐍 pic.twitter.com/oUEenEl2f3- Boston Celtics (@celtics) September 28, 2020
JB ‼️‼️ pic.twitter.com/rIc0gGSUBx- Boston Celtics (@celtics) September 28, 2020
Boston forced Miami into four turnovers. Jaylen Brown scored seven points and recorded three steals during this run.
6. Game of runs
Miami wasn't about to fold after Boston's big run. They responded on Tyler Herro's consecutive 3s and that began a game of back-and-forth buckets as both teams exchanged leads for the next few minutes.
Tyler Herro back-to-back big buckets in the 4th! #NBAPlayoffs @celtics 100@MiamiHEAT 98- NBA (@NBA) September 28, 2020
6:20 left on ESPN pic.twitter.com/q7J6hHkOKp
7. Bam & Herro takeover late
After both teams traded buckets for a few minutes, the Heat began to pull away. Their late 31-10 run over a seven-minute stretch late was sparked by their young guns - third-year big Bam Adebayo and rookie Tyler Herro.
The duo combined for 17 of the team's 31 points. Herro had 11 of his 19 points for the game in this run while Adebayo also had six rebounds and four assists to go along with his six points during this stretch.
Get out of Bam's WAY💥 pic.twitter.com/32tCkL38wo- NBA TV (@NBATV) September 28, 2020
BABY GOAT LIVES FOR THESE MOMENTS- Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) September 28, 2020
Bam with the exclamation point ❗️ pic.twitter.com/J2UOD9mLWC- NBA TV (@NBATV) September 28, 2020
Stuffing the stat sheet, Adebayo became the first Heat player with a 30-point/10-rebound playoff game since LeBron James in 2014. That's not all.
This is the 7th time Bam Adebayo has recorded 20 points and 10 rebounds in a game this postseason.- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 28, 2020
The only Heat player with more in a single postseason is LeBron James in 2012. pic.twitter.com/soiSEmQg8l
8. Up next
For the first time in NBA history, two teams that didn't make the playoffs last season, will face-off in the NBA Finals.
The 2020 NBA Finals will tip-off on Wednesday, Sep. 30 between the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers at 9:00 p.m. ET.
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