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The Boston Celtics advance to the NBA Finals after a hard-fought 100-96 victory in Game 7 over the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday night.
Celtics All-NBA forward Jayson Tatum walked away with the first-ever Eastern Conference Finals Most Valuable Player award named after Celtics legend Larry Bird.
Tatum finished the game with 26 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in the series to pick up the win.
The Celtics received contributions at all levels. Guards Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart contributed with 24 points each, and backup big man Grant Williams had 11.
The Heat fell just short of their second Finals appearance in three years. Guard Jimmy Butler had 35 points, nine rebounds and an assist in a losing effort.
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Boston narrowly closed out the Heat in a game that looked almost over with about two minutes left, but the Heat went on an 11-0 run to cut the lead to two. The Celtics would hang on to the end and take the win.
“Today was the biggest test, not just of the year, but of our career: mentally going into Game 7 away from home, after losing on our pitch, and we did that,” he said. Brown told reporters after the game.
The Celtics ended a four-game losing streak in the Conference Finals, failing in 2012, 2017, 2018 and 2020. This will be the Celtics’ first Finals appearance since 2010, when they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers. .
They will have the opportunity to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the first time since 2008 if they win the final.
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They will face the Western Conference Finals champion Golden State Warriors in the final round of the playoffs.
Game 1 of the NBA Finals kicks off Thursday night at 9 p.m.
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