With a spectacular fourth quarter, the Boston Celtics moved forth into the NBA Finals for the first time in 21 years.
The Celtics are in The Finals for the first time since 1987, when they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers. Looking for their 17th title, they again will face the Lakers, who are in search of their 15th championship.
Boston opened the final period by making eight of its first nine shots, turning a 70-60 deficit into an 83-76 advantage. Leading the way was Pierce, the face of the Celtics for a decade who had a three-point play, a jumper and two free throws in a 74-second span, giving the Celtics the lead for good.
Pierce scored 27 points, Ray Allen added 17 and Kevin Garnett 16 for the Celtics, avoided a Game 7 for the first time in this postseason. Pierce, Allen and Garnett all are going to The Finals for the first time in their careers.
Detroit has lost in Game 6 of the East Finals each of the last three seasons.
The NBA Finals open Thursday in Boston at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.