Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics guard Derrick White celebrates with Jayson Tatum after defeating the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals. (Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports)

The Boston Celtics are one win away from history.

And yet, they were seconds away from losing out on the opportunity to make history, before Derrick White played hero to close out a 104-103 Celtics win in Game 6 over the Miami Heat. Jimmy Butler had just put the Heat up 103-102 with just three seconds, and it appeared that a Marcus Smart desperation heave would be the Celtics’ final shot, but White just barely got the putback off before the buzzer and the shot fell, saving the Celtics’ season from the brink.

  • Jayson Tatum scored a game-high 31 points in Game 6, as the Celtics’ “Big 3” all stepped up in this one. Jaylen Brown and Smart scored 26 and 21, respectively.

    The trio combined for 16 points over the final 7:37 of the game, ultimately keeping Miami at bay despite a good push in the fourth quarter. The Heat’s Duncan Robinson missed two three-point attempts within the last two minutes, including a potential go-ahead shot with 21.9 seconds left.

  • Tatum started strong, which hasn’t always been the case for him in this 2023 playoff run. He scored nine first-quarter points, including 5-for-5 on free throws. Tatum sank all three free tries on a Max Strus three-point foul to break an 11-11 tie, and the Celtics would hold the lead for the majority of the game from there.

    The Celtics also rewarded Tatum for dishing it to open guys at the three-point line. Marcus Smart and Derrick White each hit a three assisted by Tatum late in the first quarter, which the C’s finished with a five-point lead. Jaylen Brown started the hottest of them all, with 10 first-quarter points on 5-for-6 shooting.

  • It was the second quarter that Tatum really began to take over. He erupted for 16 more points to get to 25 at halftime, just one point shy of his career-best mark for the first half of a playoff game.

    The Celtics led by as many as 11 points during the second quarter, but the Heat closed out the first half with a 12-5 run to cut the halftime margin to four at 57-53.

  • Tatum’s best highlight of the second quarter was, arguably, not one of his own shots but a nifty lob to big man Robert Williams, who fully extended and whipped home a thunderous dunk to give Boston a nine-point lead at the time.

  • Brown reclaimed the leading role for the third quarter, scoring eight points, while Tatum went cold (zero points on 0-for-3 shooting, two turnovers). Brown stayed in the game and continued to score despite committing his fourth personal foul early in the third.

    Boston led by as many as 13 points during the third quarter and took a 79-72 lead into the fourth quarter.

  • It was the start of the fourth quarter when the Heat started to put a real scare into the C’s. They started the quarter on an 11-3 run, to briefly take their first lead since the first quarter at 83-82.

    But at that point, the Celtics showed impressive mettle, responding to the Heat’s lead with an 8-0 run to go back up by seven. They built their lead to 10, then the Heat closed out the game on a 15-5 run. The Celtics had just enough to eke out the win, thanks to White’s heroics.

  • Technically, the Celtics have already made history. They’re the first team ever to force a Game 7 after going down 0-3 in a playoff series. It’s not often the No. 2 seed gets into that spot. But here they are.

    The decisive Game 7 takes place on Monday night at TD Garden.

    Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. Check out all of Matt’s content here.

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