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Keys to the Game: Celtics 100, Heat 96

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Key Moment

Jimmy Butler made a guarantee Friday night that the Boston Celtics simply would not allow to come true.

Butler, after he and the Heat won Game 6 in Boston, stated postgame, “We’re going to win the next one too.”

Well, not exactly. In fact, the Heat never led for a single second of Game 7 as Boston advanced to the NBA Finals with a 100-96 victory.

The Celtics jumped out to 6-0 lead out of the gates and maintained an advantage for the remainder of the contest. Their lead at one point swelled to as many as 17 points, and it hovered around double-digits for the majority of the contest.

Boston’s most important run of the game, outside of that opening spurt that set the tone for the night, was an 8-0 run early in the fourth quarter that gave the team some breathing room. Miami had clawed back to within three points on a Jimmy Butler running layup, but the Celtics responded like champions do. They scored eight straight, which included points from four different members of the team.

Jayson Tatum ignited the run with two free throws, then he found Grant Williams for a layup shortly thereafter. Al Horford then joined the party by dropping in a layup off of a dish from Marcus Smart, before Smart closed out the run with a driving floater of his own.

That’s eight straight, game-changing points from Boston, all of which were earned by putting pressure on the rim. As a result, Boston punched its ticket into the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.

Key Player

Jayson Tatum earned the first-ever Larry Bird trophy as the MVP of the Eastern Conference Finals. He sure did deserve it, especially after yet another team-leading performance during Game 7.

Tatum racked up a team-best 26 points while also tying for the team high in assists with six. He notched a double-double by also hauling in 10 rebounds.

The superstar wing rounded out his box score with two blocked shots and a steal. Boston outscored Miami by seven points during his nearly 46 minutes of playing time.

That Larry Bird trophy is now in his hands after compiling series averages of 25.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.1 steals and 0.9 blocks per game.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Three Celtics scored at least 24 points, as Jayson Tatum scored 26 and Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart each notched 24.
  • Jimmy Butler led the game 35 points as he played all 48 minutes.
  • Al Horford led the game with 14 rebounds.
  • Tatum and Brown led the game with six assists apiece.
  • Grant Williams came off of Boston's bench to score 11 points and grab six rebounds.
  • Both teams attempted 24 free throws, with Boston making 19 and Miami making 16.
  • Boston led from start to finish.
  • The teams combined to commit only 23 turnovers, 13 by Boston and 10 by Miami.
  • Tatum made four free throws, which falls just two behind Miami's team total.
  • Neither team shot better than 42 percent from the field.

Quote of the Night

"Today was the biggest test, not just of the year, but of our careers: to mentally come into a Game 7 away, after losing on our home court, and we got it done."

Jaylen Brown on winning another Game 7