MIAMI – Jillian Brown scored 25 points and Jason Tatum added 22 as the Boston Celtics beat Miami 93-80 on Wednesday to advance to the NBA Finals.
Tatam added 12 rebounds and nine assists as the visiting Celtics took a 3-2 lead in the seven Eastern Conference Final Series in Boston on Friday.
“We have to be prepared for the next one,” Brown said.
The Celtics, who advanced to the playoffs 6-2 this year, have a win to reach the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010, when they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers.
They have not won an NBA crown since 2008, when they defeated the Lakers.
A physical, defensive-minded contest was decided late in the third quarter and early in the fourth, when the Celtics went 24-2, with Brown scoring 13 and Tatum adding seven.
“We’ve run it aggressively,” Brown said. “We stopped spinning the ball. We’ve cleaned it up, shot more and settled down. “
The Celtics dominated the third quarter, beating Miami 32-16 and entering the fourth quarter at 69-58 to end the period with a 10-0 run for the biggest lead at that point.
Miami was shooting for 4 for 22 from the floor in the third quarter.
Boston then started the fourth quarter with a 14-2 run to take command at 83-60 and the Celtics blocked Miami from there, serving a strong slam dunk notice from Brown that would not allow the spectators to make the game dramatic. Last minute
“We played a great defense in the first half. We played a great defense in the second half, “Brown said. “Once we started shooting straight balls I knew half of us would be fine.”
Left Adebayo led Miami with 18 points and added 10 rebounds. But the hit only shot 90 -94 (31.9%) from the floor and 7-of-45 (15.6%) from the 3-point range.
The Heat’s early backcourt, Max Strauss and Kyle Lowry, were -15 for 0 from the combined floor, -12 for 0 from the 3-point range.
Boston’s Marcus Smart played despite a sprained right ankle and teammate Robert Williams was on the court with a left knee injury.
Smart had five points, five rebounds and four assists plus a steady defensive move where Williams contributed six points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.
The Heat was leading 42-37 at half time, the closest mid-point score ever in a blowout-filled series. Adebayo led Miami with 10 points and Derrick White took 11 points on the Boston bench.
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