The Miami Heat desperately needed Jimmy Butler to step up and the star delivered kicks en route to a 111-103 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Heat win now means the series moves to a Game 7 that will take place in Miami.
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Butler was the star of the show, scoring 47 points and making nine rebounds and eight assists as he came close to a triple-double.
Sat 28 May
Saturday 28 May
The forward had little help from his team-mates for most of the game, although Max Strus pulled the three-pointers out of the clutch in the third quarter, while Kyle Lowry managed to score 18 before making a mistake in the fourth.
Butler fired all cylinders from the start, as he scored or assisted 24 of Miami’s 29 points in the first quarter with six field goals from 10 and two shots from outside the arc in a blistering start.
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The Celtics were slow, trailing 19-9 at one point in the first quarter, but came back to close the gap to 19-14.
However, the Celtics emerged for the second quarter with the bit between their teeth as they
cut the Heat’s lead to just two points in one stage.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were the early stars for the Celtics, with 18 points each.
Despite being the better side in the second period, the Celtics’ improved play was not enough to steal the lead from the Heat.
The Heat extended their lead even further for the final period, thanks to a dominant third in which the offense finally gained some much-needed momentum.
Boston did everything they could to close the game in the fourth quarter and had tied the scores at one point, but Butler came out late in the game with some crucial points to put the Heat back on the lead.
Both teams turned the ball an alarming number of times during the game, with the Heat giving up 19 times and the Celtics 18 times.
On Monday, the series comes to an end in Game 7.