Miami’s flame is dying down. It’s time for the Aces to step up once again.
The Miami Heat lost 103-104 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics in the 2023 NBA Playoffs on Monday (Feb. 28) at the Amway Center in Miami.
The goddess of victory seemed to be in Miami’s favor until Jimmy Butler sank all three of his free throws drawn by an opponent’s foul with 3.0 seconds left in the fourth quarter to make it 103-102.
But fate was not on Miami’s side. On Boston’s final offensive possession, Derrick White scored on a dramatic putback to tie the game again, and just like that, the Heat were denied a chance to advance to the Finals on a buzzer-beater by their opponent.
Miami is the team with the most incredible storyline of these playoffs. After battling their way through the play-in tournament and entering the playoffs as the No. 8 seed, they breezed through the first round with a 4-1 sweep of No. 1 seed Milwaukee despite losing Tyler Hiro and Victor Oladipo to injury, and then pulled off an upset in the second round against New York.
In the Conference Finals against Boston, Miami’s momentum was not easily dampened. After winning the first two games of the series on the road, the Heat won Game 3 at home by 26 points to take a three-game series lead and boost their chances of reaching the NBA Finals.
But in Game 4, things started to go south for Miami. It was painful to see the balance of the rotation slowly crumble as Kyle Lowry, Gabe Vincent, Max Strasburg, and others began to falter. Even the emergence of Caleb Martin, one of the best finds of the playoffs, couldn’t translate into a final push for a Finals berth, as the Heat dropped three straight after winning three in a row.
Ultimately, Miami’s fate rests with Butler, who has been a tremendous presence on offense, averaging 28.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.0 steals in 16 games this playoffs.
Butler had 24 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in Game 6, but he shot just 23.8 percent (5-of-23) from the field. He did a great job of leading Miami’s comeback in the fourth quarter, scoring 15 points after a sluggish third quarter, but he couldn’t escape the blame entirely as his team ultimately lost.메이저놀이터
Butler said in a postgame interview, “I told my teammates in the locker room that the loss tonight was on me. I told them I’m going to do better in Game 7. I’m determined to win Game 7 in Boston,” he said.
With a win, the Celtics would become the first team to advance from the play-in tournament to the NBA Finals. A loss would make them the first team in NBA history to fail to defend a 3-0 series lead in the playoffs. The fate of Miami and Butler will be decided on March 30 in Boston.