BOSTON (CBS) — The season is over for the Boston Celtics after falling to the Miami Heat, 125-113, in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Miami shot a blistering 56 percent on Sunday night, led by 32 points off 11-for-15 shooting from center Bam Adebayo. The big man also pulled down 14 rebounds and dished out five assists for, with Jimmy Butler adding 22 points and eight helpers for the Heat.
Miami went on a furious run in the fourth quarter as Boston went cold, outscoring the Celtics 37-27 in the final frame. The Heat lead by many as 15 points as they rattled off a 26-6 run late in the game.
“I think they’re the best team in the East and they deserve to be representing the East with the way that they played,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said after Game 6.
It’s a disappointing end to an otherwise promising season for the Celtics, which saw the team raise their expectations throughout the regular season.
“I think we played hard. We feel like we underachieved, but still no reason to hang our head,” said Jaylen Brown, who led Boston with 26 points. “We had a really good group, a young group and talented group that will improve. It stings, but I’m still very, very proud of this group.”
Jayson Tatum (who started the game 0-for-7) had 24 points in the loss. Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart both scored 20 points for Boston.
Smart said his biggest regret throughout the series was the slow start the Celtics got off to.
“Really getting behind early, starting games slow. Starting the series slow. Other than that, I’m proud of our guys, the resolve,” said Smart. “We didn’t lay down. It could have been early but we stayed with it. Miami had great players and coaching staff, so credit to those guys. But just starting the game, starting the series slow.”
The Celtics trailed by two at halftime despite hitting 11 of their 23 three-point attempts. Boston ripped off a 10-2 run to end the third quarter and turned that into a 20-6 run early in the fourth to jump out to a six-point lead, 96-90.
Brown came up with a pair of steals that turned into easy points during the run, including a steal and slam that gave Boston a 90-88 lead early in the third quarter.
But the Heat answered with a 26-6 run in the fourth quarter to build a their double-digit. Adebayo attacked the rim to get to the free throw line throughout the run, and Miami took a 109-102 lead with 4:30 to go after a three by Duncan Robinson and a driving layup by Tyler Herro. The Celtics relied on too much hero ball and went cold during the Miami run, missing four straight threes at one point late in the quarter as they desperately tried to get back into the game.
“They were more aggressive. They were getting whatever they wanted,” said Smart. “We didn’t combat it and we didn’t respond the way we should have. We played a really good team. You tip your cap to those guys and go back to the drawing board and see what needs to be fixed, come back better next year.”
The Miami Heat move on to face the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals, which will tip off Wednesday night, while the Celtics will head home from the NBA bubble in Orlando.