The Miami Heat are still alive. After falling behind 3-2 to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals, the Heat pulled out an impressive win in Game 6 to extend the series and force a decisive Game 7 on Sunday night in Miami.
In Game 6, the Heat showed a collective ability to bounce back, as did several key contributors on their roster. After scoring 27 total points in Games 3, 4 and 5, Jimmy Butler willed the Heat to victory with a playoff career-high 47 points in Game 6. He also added nine rebounds and eight assists in what was arguably the best performance of the postseason so far.
Similarly, Kyle Lowry had more points (18) and assists (10) in Game 6 than he had in the rest of the series combined. Both of those guys have been battling injury issues this postseason, but they’ve clearly tried to fight through them and be available for their team. Now, the Heat sit just one win away from their second Finals berth in the past three seasons, while the Celtics are looking for their first Finals appearance since 2010.
On Sunday night, one of the teams will move on to face off against the Golden State Warriors, while the other team’s offseason will begin. Here’s everything you need to know about the seventh game between Miami and Boston.
(1) Miami Heat at (2) Boston Celtics
- When: Sunday, May 29 | 8:30 p.m. ET
- Where: FTX Arena — Miami, Florida
- TV: ESPN | Live stream: fubo TV (try for free)
- Odds: MIA +120; BOS -140; O/U 196 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Heat: As it turns out, the Heat are a much better team when they actually make some shots. In Games 4 and 5, the Heat shot a combined 60-of-184 (32.6 percent) from the field overall and 21-of-81 (25.9 percent) from 3-point land. In Game 6, they knocked down 15 3-pointers, which was their most in a game this series and second-most in the entire playoffs, and they shot 46.2 percent from the field. That’s why they call it a make or miss league. Aggression on the part of Miami’s playmakers like Butler and Lowry was key to generating open opportunities in Game 6, so look for Miami to try to duplicate that approach in Game 7.
Celtics: If they want to advance to the Finals, the Celtics simply have to do a better job of taking care of the ball. In Game 6 they had 17 turnovers that led to 23 points for the Heat. In their Game 3 loss, they had a whopping 24 turnovers and in their Game 1 loss they had 16. In these playoffs, the Celtics are 1-4 when they have more than 15 turnovers and 10-2 when they stay at or below that number. So, the formula for them is pretty simple. If they take care of the ball, they give themselves an excellent chance of winning.
This series has been extremely difficult to predict, as consistency has been an issue for both teams. At this point, an argument could be made for either team to win. With that said, though, the Celtics seem to have a bit more firepower on the offensive end, and their depth might be a bit more reliable, especially with Heat guard Tyler Herro still dealing with a groin strain. Pick: Celtics -2.5