Lake Buena Vista, US, Sep 27 (efe-epa).- A great offensive showing by center Bam Adebayo was instrumental to the Miami Heat’s 125-113 win against the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals on Sunday, propelling them into the NBA finals.
Heat sealed the best-of-seven semifinal series 4-2 with the victory, booking them the finals spot against the Los Angeles Lakers, who were crowned Western Conference champions after a 4-1 series win over the Denver Nuggets.
This will be the Miami team’s sixth appearance in the NBA finals since 2014, when they lost to the San Antonio Spurs 1-4, and the 32nd appearance of the Lakers.
Adebayo scored a career-high 32 points and 14 rebounds, while making five assists.
Along with Adebayo, forward Jimmy Butler also racked up 22 points and eight assists – key in the victory of the Heat, which had six players with double-digit scores.
But the Heat reserves, rookie Tyler Herro, who added 19 points, and veteran Andre Iguodala, who scored 15 in a near-perfect performance, that would prove to be the Heat’s surprise winning factor.
Iguodala shot 5-of-5 from the field, including 4-of-4 three-pointers, and 1-of-2 from the free-throw line. He also captured three rebounds and made two steals in his 28 minutes of play.
The Miami team had their best offensive game, sinking 56 percent (45-80) of its field-goal attempts, 48 percent (13-27) on 3-pointers and 85 percent (22-26) from the free-throw line.
The Heat dominated the score board and the play from the start of the game until the beginning of the fourth quarter, when the Celtics pulled ahead to take a six-point lead.
But this time, the Heat did not allow the Celtics to stage a comeback by taking back control of the game with some great defense.
A 6-0 run – Herro scored the last five of those points, taking only 31 seconds to do so – allowed the Heat to tie the score at 96. Herro also had a pair of baskets in another 9-0 run that put the Heat up by 10 points.
Guard Jaylen Brown scored 26 points, and forward Jayson Tatum put up a double-double of 24 points and a career-high 11 assists, to emerge as the leading scorers for the Celtics.
Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker added another 20 points for the Boston team, who lost in the Eastern Conference finals for the third time in the past four years.
“It was a fun run. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but we fought hard, man. That’s all you can ask for … I’m just proud of these guys,” Kemba said after the loss.
The Miami Heat are the only NBA franchise with six appearances in the finals in the last 15 years and will be seeking their fourth title.
The finals will kick off at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on Wednesday. EFE-EPA