For the Kaseya Center in Miami, the playoff slogan was “White Hot Playoffs”. On Saturday night, the arena was clad in white and the Heat had those three words on their chests.
Little did they know how prophetic that would be.
With just over three minutes left in the fourth quarter, Jayson Tatum hit two free throws Celts as much as nine points at 100-91. He led the yo-yo throughout the game, from double figures and as high as 13 in the third quarter to a two-possession game, but later on it seemed like Boston had finally closed the gap between them and the Heat, and closer to Game 7 at TD Garden on Monday night .
Then Jimmy Butler showed up. In the last three minutes, he scored 10 of Miami’s last twelve points, including a three-point step back, one i-1, and several free throws, including three from the clutch, to take the lead when Al Horford fouled him. three seconds left on the clock and potentially the Celtics season.
“Honestly, I’m in full prayer mode,” Jaylen Brown said of Heat’s return.
On the verge of the final, Erik Spoelstra decided to keep the ball away from Jayson Tatum. Tatum finished with 31 points and went to the line fifteen times. They weren’t going to let him defeat them.
“Really, I’m just trying to get to a place where we can do a dribble or two and take a shot,” head coach Joe Mazzulla said of his recent game call. “They did a good job of rejecting the incoming one. It’s always a difficult read.”
Ended up with Marcus Smart with the last Game 6 ripple.
“Smart flashed, hit it and there was really no one on me,” said Derrick White. “I just moved to the corner and when he shot it he just tried to crash. The ball came to me and I took a shot.
Of course, White’s humble nature downplays the team’s biggest postseason game yet. The Celtics became the first team in NBA history to force Game 7 on their own floor thanks to his tip.
“Derrick White, like lightning, came out of nowhere and saved the day, man,” Brown said. “It was just an amazing play.”
“It was like the longest ten seconds ever, waiting to be confirmed if he made it or not. I still don’t believe it. This s%$# was crazy,” said Tatum.
White finished the game with 11 points, four rebounds and six assists, none of which were more important than an offensive rebound and beating the buzzer. However, it may have been his defense that really pushed the Celtics to win Game 6. According to Kirk Goldsberry of ESPNMiami had 1 out of 12 shots he questioned, including Butler’s 0 out of 6 with White as the lead defenseman.
“My phone is already exploding but I’m going home tomorrow and playing with Hendrix,” White said of his heroism. “I’m sure he won’t look at me differently, so it’ll be fun.”