Celtics beat Heat in thriller to set up Eastern Conference decider
Derrick White scored a dramatic buzzer-beater as the Boston Celtics continued their remarkable fightback from 3-0 down to level the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat.
With the Celtics trailing 103-102, Marcus Smart’s last-gasp three-point attempt bounced off the rim, but White tipped it in moments before the buzzer.
No NBA team has come from 3-0 down to win a best-of-seven play-off series.
The decisive final game takes place on Monday in Boston.
The winners will face the Denver Nuggets in the finals, which start on June 1.
Although the Celtics led for most of the contest at the Kaseya Center in Florida, the Heat looked to have secured the win – and the series – after Jimmy Butler was fouled by Al Horford when attempting a three-pointer with three seconds remaining.
Butler kept his cool to sink all three free throws and give Miami a one-point lead before White’s late intervention.
“Ball came to me, I made the shot. That’s what I saw,” said White.
“It felt good. Everybody was asking me, ‘did you get it off?’ And I was like, ‘yeah, I think so,’ but it was so close, you never know.
“I’m happy we won. Whatever it takes. We got our backs against the wall.”
Jayson Tatum scored 31 points and made 11 rebounds and five assists for the Celtics with, while Jaylen Brown ended with 26 points and 10 rebounds.
“It gives you a supreme boost in confidence,” said Brown. “It doesn’t get too much worse than being down 0-3. We feel like we’ve been to hell and back.
“We feel like we can face any adversity that gets thrown at us in the duration of the game or the duration of the season or in the post-season.
“It all means nothing if we don’t come out and give our best effort on our home floor on Monday.”
Butler scored 24 points, including 15 in the final quarter, and Caleb Martin 21 for Miami. (BBC Sport)