Los Angeles Lakers’ wait for their opponent in this season’s NBA finals is finally over as Miami Heat secured an emphatic 125-113 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. Miami Heat won the series 4-2. The victory against Boston Celtics also means that Miami Heat will participate in their first NBA finals in over six years and face their former star LeBron James, the man who led them to their last NBA title. The Heat will be looking to topple hot favorites Los Angeles Lakers and win their fourth overall NBA title. Miami Heat’s previous appearance in the NBA finals came in a 4-1 series loss to San Antonio Spurs in the 2013-2014 NBA season.
Miami Heat’s win in Game 6 was the perfect way for them to bounce back after losing the previous game 121-108, thus presenting Boston Celtics an opportunity to start an unlikely comeback. Miami Heat is now the only NBA team to make six NBA finals appearances in the last 15 years.
Ahead of Game 1 of this year’s NBA finals this week, we take a look at some of the talking points from Miami Heat’s 125-113 win over the Boston Celtics.
Bam Adebayo redeems himself with an unforgettable performance
It was a problematic Game 5 for Miami Heat’s Power Forward Bam Adebayo, who struggled to influence the game for his team, especially in the defensive phase. In the post-match interview after Game 5, he took the blame for his team’s defeat and looked down and out. However, Bam Adebayo atoned for his mistakes in Game 6 and bounced back from his slump in Game 5 as he delivered a performance of a lifetime to send his team into the NBA finals to face the Lakers.
Adebayo finished Game 6 with a career-high 32 points on 11-for-15 shooting, 14 rebounds, and five assists in 39 minutes. He also completed the game with 10-for-11 from the free-throw line. Adebayo was also unstoppable at both ends of the court in the fourth quarter with 10 of his 32 points, seven rebounds, and four assists coming in that quarter. Adebayo also caused many problems for Boston Celtics Center Daniel Theis, who came off the bench with seven minutes left to the end of the game.
In 15 playoff games so far, Adebayo has averaged 18.5 points per game, 11.4 rebounds per game, 4.9 assists per game, and 1.2 steals per game. In all Eastern Conference finals series, Adebayo averaged 21.8 points on 66.3 percent true shooting.
In the entire Eastern Conference Finals series, Miami Heat outscored Boston Celtics by 2.5 points per 100 possessions with Bam Adebayo on the court. However, the Heat was outscored by 5.5 points per 100 possessions without him on the court. In all of their playoff games, Miami Heat has outscored their opponents by 8.2 points per 100 possessions with Adebayo on the court. They have also been outscored by 3.9 points per 100 possessions when Adebayo is on the bench. These numbers show that he is a fundamental part of the Miami Heat team.
If he repeats his best performances against the Lakers, Miami Heat could earn themselves a convincing NBA title triumph.
Miami Heat show improvement in Shooting from the 3-point range
In Game 6 against the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals, Miami Heat showed massive improvement in shooting from the 3-point range. At the beginning of the series, Miami Heat struggled with their shooting from the 3-point range despite winning most games. The Heat only managed to shoot 26.9 percent from three-point range from Game 2 to Game 5. In all opening five Conference Finals games, Miami Heat shot 30.5 percent from 3-point range.
Miami Heat’s low 3-point range shooting from those previous games in the Eastern Conference finals was far from the impressive numbers they had in the regular season. Miami Heat finished the regular season as the NBA’s second-best team in the 3-point shooting range department with a 37.9 percentage. The Heat also has an average of 14.1 for 3-pointers per game. They also shot 38 percent from deep in the first two rounds of this year’s playoffs.
It was a different scenario in Game 6 as the Heat finished the game with a 13-of-27 (48.1 percent) shooting performance from deep. The Heat have won most of the games that they have shot 40 percent or higher from the three-point range. They have an impressive 27-6 win-loss record this season whenever they shoot 40 percent or higher from the three-point range.
Coach Erik Spoelstra’s bench rotation pays dividends
It was a night of impactful cameos from the bench for Miami Heat as Coach Spoelstra’s rotations made another big difference. Coach Spoelstra opted for Tyler Herro, Andre Iguodala, and Solomon Hill as options from the bench in Game 6, which proved to be an intelligent decision. Rookie Tyler Herro continued his excellent postseason form, finishing Game 6 with 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting, five rebounds, and seven assists in 35 minutes. In all six Eastern Conference finals games against the Celtics, Herro averaged 19.2 points on 52.3 percent shooting, 6.3 rebounds, and 4.8 assists.
Andre Iguodala also finished Game 6 with a season-high 15 points on 5-of-5 shooting and four three-pointers.