Miami (AFP) –With a dramatic, buzzer-beater from Derrick White, the Boston Celtics forced their NBA Eastern Conference Finals series with the Miami Heat to a winner-take-all game seven with a 104-103 win in South Florida on Saturday.
The Celtics became just the fourth team in NBA history to level a best-of-seven playoff series after trailing 3-0.
They will now have a chance on Monday to create an even more impressive milestone if they can become the first team to win a series after losing the opening three games.
The winner of Monday’s game will face the Western Conference champions, the Denver Nuggets, in the NBA Finals starting on Thursday.
The Celtics had led for most of the contest but Miami looked to have grabbed the win and the series when Jimmy Butler was fouled, attempting a three-point shot, by Al Horford.
With three seconds left on the clock, Butler, who had been well below-par until he came alive late in the fourth quarter, kept his cool to sink all three free throws and make it 103-102 with three seconds remaining.
Facing elimination, Marcus Smart’s three-point attempt bounced off the rim, but White was alert and strong to tip the rebound into the backet, the shot leaving his fingertips only a fraction of a second before the buzzer.
“I’m happy we won. Whatever it takes. We got our backs against the wall. Just happy we won,” said White.
“We’re a resilient group. We pick each other up. We fought for each other. The job isn’t done yet. We’ve got a tough one in game seven and we’ve got to find a way to get one more win.”
Jayson Tatum led Boston with 31 points and had 11 rebounds and five assists while Jaylen Brown came up with 26 points and 10 rebounds.
Butler went into the fourth quarter with just nine points but ended with 24 while Caleb Martin provided 21 points for Miami.