Celtics force Game 7 with Derrick White buzzer-beater, on verge of historic

May 25, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics guard Derrick White (9) reacts during the second quarter of game five against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals for the 2023 NBA playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Derrick White came out of nowhere to force Game 7 for the Celtics. (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

Hug your closest Miami Heat fan. The Boston Celtics have forced a Game 7, thanks to one Derrick White.

After previously falling behind 3-0 in the Eastern Conference finals, the Celtics defeated the Heat 104-103 in Game 6 on Saturday to send the series to a winner-take-all showdown in Boston on Monday to decide who will play the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Finals.

Game 7 is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT.

The Celtics have made history just by forcing a Game 7, joining the 2003 Portland Trail Blazers, 1994 Denver Nuggets and 1951 New York Knicks in evening a series after being down 3-0. Now they get to find out if they’re the first team in that group to win.

Derrick White the hero for Celtics

The Heat might be in the middle of a collapse, but the game nearly ended with a Boston falling apart. The Celtics led by as many as 10 points midway through the fourth quarter, then coughed up the lead.

The Heat’s final points came on an unreal turn of events, when the Celtics challenged an Al Horford foul on Jimmy Butler while up 2 points. Instead of getting rid of the foul, it gave three free throws instead of two for Butler, who made them all.

The Celtics got the ball back and saw Marcus Smart attempt a game-winning 3-pointer, which missed. However, as the Miami crowd cheered, White got the rebound and won the game.

It didn’t look like White got the shot off in time, but replay confirmed him as the hero.

It was still an ugly win for the Celtics

Until about five minutes left in the fourth, the Celtics again looked like a top-tier team facing a play-in team. Unlike the previous two games, though, they didn’t do it by shooting lights out from 3-point range. Instead, it was a suffocating effort on defense anchored by center Robert Williams, or at least a putrid night for Miami.

Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, once the dominant forces in this series, looked like a shell of themselves for the most of the game. They entered the fourth quarter shooting 5-of-29 from the field. As a team overall, the Heat finished the game shooting 13-of-34 in the paint.

Meanwhile, the Celtics struggled shooting from deep, finishing 7-of-35 at the perimeter, but made up for it with a pair of strong nights from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. The Heat defense struggled to stay in front of both of them all night, and the pair combined for 57 points.

The whole game really should have been more of a blowout, especially when the Celtics built up a 13-point lead in the third quarter. What kept Miami in the game was their group of previously unheralded prospects in Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, Caleb Martin and Duncan Robinson.

The Heat kept pushing late in the third quarter and early in the fourth quarter, at one point taking the lead on a rare basket inside from Butler.

It didn’t last. Brown scored on the next possession to take back control for the Celtics. Three minutes later, they were up by 10…

Read More: Celtics force Game 7 with Derrick White buzzer-beater, on verge of historic 2023-05-28 03:21:00

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