NBA play-offs: Boston Celtics beat Miami Heat to reach NBA finals for first time since 2010
The Boston Celtics reached the NBA finals for the first time in 12 years as they held off a determined Miami Heat for a 100-96 game-seven win.
Boston failed in their last five play-off runs and almost did so again as Jimmy Butler missed a late three-point attempt which would have given Miami the lead.
But they secured victory and will face Golden State Warriors in the finals.
“This is a typical Celtics win,” coach Ime Udoka said.
“We fought through a lot of adversity this year. We’re a resilient group and tonight seemed to signify our season. We can’t ever seem to shut the door and have to grind it out.”
The Celtics led by 17 at one point in the second quarter but a fourth-quarter flurry helped Miami repeatedly reduce the advantage.
After Butler’s missed three-pointer, Boston’s Marcus Smart – who had 24 points and nine rebounds in total – made two free throws to seal the long-awaited finals place.
Series MVP Jayson Tatum starred for the Celtics with 26 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, while Jaylen Brown had 24 points.
Tatum said: “The road we took to get here, not a lot of people believed in us. We took the toughest route and it worked out.”
Boston face the Warriors, who beat the Dallas Mavericks to earn their place in the finals, for game one in San Francisco on Thursday.