The Miami Heat (3-3) beat the Boston Celtics in a do-or-die Game 6 at the TD Garden on Friday, May 27. The Celtics entered as 8.5-points favorites to win but were defeated 111-103, which means Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green is eating his words right now.
After Green and the Warriors punched their ticket to the NBA Finals following their Game 5 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday, May 26, the 32-year-old center boldly announced, “We’re gonna play Boston.”
Too soon, Draymond. Too soon.
The latest Heat news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Heat newsletter here!
Heat forward P.J. Tucker, who put 11 points, with five rebounds, one assist, and two steals in Game 6, made sure to address Green’s disrespectful comments during his postgame interview with ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt on Friday night.
Not only did Tucker call out Van Pelt for assuming the Celtics would stomp on the Heat to win the Eastern Conference Finals, as did nearly every other NBA analyst, but he also gave a special shout-out to Green. “Tell Draymond I appreciate it,” the veteran said.
Van Pelt asked Tucker if he was surprised by Jimmy Butler’s performance, his teammate who put 47 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists in 45 minutes of play, and Tucker balked at the question. “I’ve been seeing him do it all year. All through the playoffs, he’s stepped up.”
Tucker then told Yahoo! Sports Chris Haynes, “I don’t know what part of the game is that,” regarding Green’s statement. “A player picking a team before they’re out. That’s crazy, bro.”
Heat captain Udonis Haslem also made it clear how he felt about Green’s premature comments. “Tell Draymond thank you,” Haslem said, immediately following Game 6.
“Draymond broke the code,” Haslem told Yahoo! Sports. “You ain’t supposed to say some s*** like that. That’s disrespectful. He know better than that… I didn’t sleep much after he said that. That was some bulls***.”
“We’re going home [for Game 7],” Haslem continued. “We did what we were supposed to do. Don’t ever count us out.”
Erik Spoelstra Said He’s ‘Grateful’ the Heat Live to See Another Day
Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra faced major backlash for continuing on with the usual starting lineup on the brink of elimination, in particular becuase Max Strus was deep in a shooting slump and Kyle Lowry appeared to be a shell of his former self while playing through a hamstring injury.
Over the last two games, Strus has shot 0-for-16 from the field and 0-for-11 from beyond the arc. As for Lowry, the six-time All-Star shot 5-of-23 in the series before Game 6, and went 0-6 in Game 5 with zero assists while committing five fouls and three turnovers.
But Coach Spo stood his ground and it paid off. Strus finished Friday night with 13 points, going 3-of-8 from beyond the arc. Lowry performed even better, scoring 18 points, going 4-of-9 on threes, along with 10 assists, four rebounds, one steal, and one block.
As for Butler, it’s hard to put into words just how dominant his performance was against the Celtics in Game 6, but it brought up memories of when superstar LeBron James singlehandedly kept the Heat alive while down 3-2 in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals.
When Lowry was asked during the postgame conference what he thought about Butler’s performance, the veteran point guard said, “It’s f****** incredible,” and then begged the NBA not to fine him.
Game 7 Brings the Eastern Conference Finals Back to Miami
The Celtics/Heat series has been absolutely wild and unpredictable, so it’s hard to imagine how Game 7 will play out at the FTX Arena in Miami on Sunday, May 29. However, the Heat having homecourt advantage, as they entered the postseason as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, definitely puts a feather in their cap.
Game 7 of the Celtics vs. Heat series will take place at 8:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, airing live on ESPN.