Nba Playoffs: One Udoka Guides Celtics To Finals For The First Time In 12 Years.
Former Nigerian basketball player and current Boston coach One Udoka has led Celtics to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010 after defeating the Miami Heat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday at FTX Arena.
Jimmy Butler could have tied the score in crunch time but decided to take a 3-pointer instead of attacking the rim. Butler missed the shot from deep to derail a Heat comeback down the stretch.
With 50 seconds left to play, Max Strus scored from beyond the arc to make it a two-point deficit for Miami, who had gone on an 11-0 scoring run. Butler then missed the triple instead of going for the tie.
Marcus Smart scored two free throws to seal the victory and finished the night with 24 points. Jaylen Brown also scored 24 and Jayson Tatum added a team-high 26 points to go with 10 rebounds.
Jayson Tatum wins the Larry Bird ECF MVP
Tatum, a Celtic, fittingly won the first-ever Larry Bird Eastern Conference Finals MVP trophy. Had Butler scored the triple, he would have won the award, finishing with a game-high 35 points.
Boston led by as many as 17 points in this wire-to-wire win. Butler had the opportunity to get Miami's first lead of the game with that final shot, but a layup would have tied the score for the first time.
Al Horford will finally play in the NBA Finals after his 141st career playoff game. Horford, who was the player with most playoff games to never have reached the final stage, grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds.
For the Heat, Bam Adebayo scored 25 points, Kyle Lowry added 15, and Tyler Herro only played seven minutes after missing the previous three games due to injury. The Celtics will now take on the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, scheduled to tip off on Thursday, June 2.