NBA: Heat advances to play Lakers in NBA Finals

Miami Heat’s Jimmy Butler (22) shoots over Boston Celtics’ Daniel Theis (27) during the first half of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Photo by Mark J. Terrill/AP Photo.

The Miami Heat continued their Cinderella postseason run on Sunday night, defeating the Boston Celtics 125-113 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals to win the series and advance to the NBA Finals. As a No. 5 seed, the Heat became the lowest seeded team to reach the finals since the No. 8 seeded New York Knicks in 1999. They will play the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 on Wednesday night. 

Game 6 resembled much of the rest of the series with the two teams trading baskets for most of the game and neither team getting out to a big lead. In fact, there wasn’t a double-digit lead on either side for the first three quarters. Whenever one team went on a mini run, the other team was quick to answer. 

That changed in the fourth quarter after the Celtics took their largest lead of the game at 96-90 with about nine minutes remaining. From that point forward, the Heat stepped up their play at both ends of the floor and ran away with the game. Miami went on a 26-6 run in the following six-plus minutes to take a commanding 14-point lead that effectively sealed the series. 

Bam Adebayo showed out in Game 6 after taking responsibility for the loss in Game 5. He played the best game of his young career, putting up 32 points on 11-for-15 shooting, 13 rebounds and five assists. Jimmy Butler also had a big night with 22 points and eight assists. The Heat got a huge boost from veteran Andre Igoudala, who will play in his sixth consecutive NBA Finals this week. He scored 15 points on a perfect 5-for-5 shooting and 4-for-4 from 3-point range. 

Boston also got solid performances from its stars. Jaylen Brown led the team with 26 points, and Jayson Tatum added 24 points along with 11 assists. 

The Celtics have a really good team and a bright future, but this is the Heat’s year. They made more big plays down the stretch to win games when they knocked off the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks. They did the same thing in this series against Boston. On paper, Miami is not better than either of those teams, but they are well coached, play their best when the game is on the line and can beat you with different players each night. Butler will drop 40 on you one game, Tyler Herro will score 37 the next. Adebayo and Goran Dragic can each carry the team as well. The Heat doesn’t have a superstar, but they make up for it with a roster full of really good players. 

The Lakers will be heavily favored in this upcoming series, and the Heat wouldn’t want it any other way. They’ve been the underdog all postseason and have thrived in that role. While it may seem like LeBron James has the easiest opponent he’s ever faced in his 10 finals appearances, this Heat team is dangerous and should not be taken lightly. That’s what the Bucks did, and that’s what the Celtics did. Now they’re watching at home. 

This will be a fun series for sure as the Heat look to complete their Cinderella season against a Lakers team that has steamrolled its competition so far in these playoffs. Game 1 is on Wednesday at 9 p.m. on ABC. 

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