Kyle Lori listens politely as Jimmy Butler shares Miami’s six-game winning streak until his teammate All-Star takes humility too far and calls his 47-point, elimination-avoiding performance “decent.”
“It’s unbelievable,” Laurie corrected him, apologizing to the TV camera in the back of the room for his language and pleading not to be fined by the league.
“It’s incredible to have someone like him by my side. I’ve played with some great players and he’s one of the best. “
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Butler scored 47 points – one of the best performances in a player’s career play-offs and elimination in NBA history – and beat the Boston Celtics 111-103 on Saturday to push the Hit Eastern Conference final into a decisive seventh game.
Ten years after LeBron James scored 45 points on the way to the back-to-back NBA title win in Boston, Butler topped him with 17 points in the fourth quarter and sent the series back to Miami.
With the win at home, the Hit will reach the NBA Finals for the second time in three years.
“It simply came to our notice then. It should have been seven games, “said Miami coach Eric Spoilstra.
“I’m really thrilled that our group got the chance to compete in a Game Seven in front of our home crowd.”
The seven-game winners will advance to the NBA Finals on Monday against Golden State, which has eliminated the Dallas Mavericks in five games. Warriors forward Drymond Green later said he expected to play for the Celtics.
In the most recent game of the series, Boston took a 97-94 lead on Derrick White’s three-pointer in less than five minutes of play – the first time in all series that the lead had changed hands in the fourth quarter. Lori answered with a three and then added two free throws as Miami scored 11 of the next 13 points.
With just two minutes left, Laurie finished with 18 points and 10 assists before being fouled. Butler made 16 of 29 shots – including four out of eight from the three-point range – and all 11 free throws.
“He came out of the jump and made his mark in the game,” White said.
“It simply came to our notice then. We knew it was coming, and we had to do better in seven games. “
Jason Tatum had 30 points and nine rebounds for Boston, and White came off the bench in the fourth quarter to score 11 of his 22 points. Two years after Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen’s three new big franchises won their 17th NBA title, the Celtics are trying to reach the final for the first time since 2010 – a record since tying the Lakers.
“It’s no secret: it’s Game Seven – a trip to the NBA Finals – a lot of lines,” Tatum said.
“We know what the risks are. We know how important it is for everyone.”
Jelene Brown scored 20 points for Boston, missing a pair of free throws when the game was tied at 99 after Lori was fouled. Brown fouled himself in a charge attack that was assessed after a challenge on a missed dunk with 13 seconds left and the Celtics dropped four.
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