Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown admitted he was anxious when Jimmy Butler pulled up for a three in transition that could have given the Miami Heat a one-point lead. With just less than four minutes left to play, the Celtics had a comfortable 13-point lead.
The Heat refused to quit and they cut the deficit to 96-98. The Heat were on a 9-0 run when Butler pulled up for a three with 17 seconds left to play. Butler missed the shot - Al Horford grabbed the rebounds and got fouled - before knocking down two free throws to seal a 100-96 victory for the Celtics in Game 7.
Butler, who scored 47 in Game 6, finished Game 7 with 35 points. "When he shot that, I was like, 'Man, what the hell,'" Brown said, per ESPN.
Brown, Marcus Smart on Butler
Butler buried the Celtics in Game 6 and he was on the verge of doing the same in Game 7.
Fortunately for the Celtics, Butler missed the three and they won Game 7 to progress into the NBA Finals. "Not again," Smart said. "Man, Jimmy has been playing well, so when he pulled up, it was kind of like, 'Oh, man. Just hope he doesn't make it.'
" The Celtics didn't avoid drama but their head coach Ime Udoka was glad with the defense his players showed in GAME 7. "Defense is our identity," Udoka said. "It's been there and held us -- got us through the tough times when the offense wasn't clicking, games when the offense doesn't click to the level it should, we can always rely on that, and that was the case tonight.
"Got big leads, dwindled it down, and we continued to get stops when we needed to, especially at the end." The Celtics will now play the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. The Warriors will host the Celtics in Game 1 on Thursday night in San Francisco.