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Jimmy Butler conjures his LeBron James with 47 as Heat force Game 7 with 111-103 win in Boston

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Jimmy Butler conjures his LeBron James with 47 as Heat force Game 7 with 111-103 win in Boston

The Miami Heat did not want it to end, and certainly not in a sea of green.

More to the point, Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry did not want it to end, even when it seemed their bodies were getting the best of their 30-something selves.

So make it a Game 7 Sunday at 8:30 p.m. at FTX Arena to settle these Eastern Conference finals.

Staving off elimination with a 111-103 victory Friday night, the Heat, like the Celtics, are now one victory from an appearance in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors.

Much like when LeBron James scored 45 a decade earlier in a needed victory when the Heat entered TD Garden down 3-2 in the 2012 Eastern Conference finals, Butler took his game to a higher level, closing with 47 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, in the wake of previous struggles with knee pain.

Butler said a text message from friend and Heat icon Dwyane Wade provided additional inspiration.

Pushing through a hamstring strain, Lowry added 18 points and 10 assists, before fouling out with 2:18 to play in a 99-99 tie.

Also stepping up was guard Max Strus, with 13 points, on a night the Heat bench was limited, with sixth man Tyler Herro sidelined for a third consecutive game due to a groin strain.

For the Celtics, there were 30 points from Jayson Tatum, 22 from Derrick White and 20 from Jaylen Brown.

Five Degrees of Heat from Friday’s game:

1. Closing time: Up two at halftime, the Heat moved to a 13-point lead in the third quarter, the game’s biggest lead to that stage, and took an 82-75 advantage into the fourth.

But the Celtics kept coming, tying it on an Al Horford 3-pointer with 5:31 to play and moving to a 97-94 lead on a Derrick White 3-pointer with 4:42 left.

A Lowry 3-pointer followed to tie it, with a pair of Lowry free throws then putting the Heat up 99-97.

But after the Celtics tied it 99-99 on a pair of Marcus Smart free throws, Butler drove for an and-one layup and 102-99 Heat lead with 2:06 left. Heat forward P.J. Tucker followed that up with three free throws to make the lead 105-99 with 1:25 to play.

A Tatum second-chance layup cut the lead to 105-101 with 71 seconds left.

But then, at the expiration of the shot clock, off an inbounds play with 2.2 seconds left on the 24-second clock, Butler drained a 20-foot jumper for a 107-101 Heat lead.

Two Tatum free throws with 40 seconds left cut the Heat lead to 107-103.

Video review then reversed a blocking foul on the Heat’s Bam Adebayo to a Brown charge with 12.1 seconds left, effectively ending it.

2. Finding a way: Butler showed more lift than any of the previous three games, up to 21 points, nine rebounds and six assists by halftime, when the Heat led 48-46.

Included in that effort was a 3-for-3 start from the 3-point line, with another 3-pointer following later.

It wasn’t exactly full-contact Butler early on, not getting to the foul line until 6:49 remained in the second period, but it became something far more than the Butler who got to the line for only six free throws the previous three games.

3. Lowry, Strus, too: After the Heat’s starting backcourt went 0 for 15 in Game 5, both Lowry and Strus had revivals.

After playing Game 5 without a point or a turnover, Lowry was back to his pesky self, both with his playmaking and his scoring.

Limited by a hamstring strain for most of this postseason, Lowry showed far more mobility, which also helped with the lift on his shot, closing 4 of 9 on 3-pointers.

Strus, who had shot 0 for 16 the previous two games, found both his 3-point shot and aggression, up to 13 points going into the fourth.

At one point in the third quarter, Strus reacted with such emotion after a 3-pointer that he spit out his mouthpiece in his exuberance.

Strus closed 3 of 8 on 3-pointers.

4. Fresh start: The Heat addressed several of their Game 5 ills early.

After shooting 7-of-45 on 3-pointers Wednesday night, they closed the first quarter 5 of 8.

Lowry had five points and two assists in that opening period.

And after scoring 13 points in Game 5, Butler had 14 in an opening period that ended with the Heat up 29-22

5. No Tyler Herro: Ultimately, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the team could not risk Herro’s groin strain, even with the stakes that were in place.

“These are not easy conversations or decisions,” Spoelstra said 90 minutes before tipoff. “He’s definitely made progress, but he’s not quite ready, you know, to step into this kind of intensity of a game.”

Spoelstra declined to say whether Herro’s injury would have been measured in days instead of weeks had this been the regular season.

“I think it’s irrelevant to get into all the details,” he said. “He’s not able to play tonight, you know. As badly as he wants to get out there, you know, this is the most responsible decision for us.”

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Minnesota United gives away late lead in Miami

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Minnesota United gives away late lead in Miami

For so much of the second half, Minnesota looked comfortable and ready to take a much-needed victory.

Shockingly, Inter Miami, the second-worst goal-scoring team in MLS notched two goals in the final three minutes to flip the script and take a 2-1 victory in the first MLS meeting between the two teams.

“[We] put ourselves in a great spot,” manager Adrian Heath said. “Put ourselves in a really good position. We’re not doing enough, it doesn’t look as though it’s enough to concede goals and lose games.”

Inter Miami forward Indiana Vassilev only made it into the game as a late-game bench substitution, but he made the most of his opportunity scoring in the 87th and 90th minute to give his team a victory, surpassing Minnesota’s one-goal lead it held since the 65th minute.

The Loons’ defense had kept Minnesota in the game for each chance Inter Miami had for the first 86 minutes, but the team couldn’t get the stops near the end to come up with the victory.

“At those times of the game, you need to do whatever you can to just beat your man,” Loons defender Michael Boxall said.

Minnesota’s victory looked nearly locked up as the Loons held the 1-0 difference into the final five minutes of the game. That goal followed a resilient start to the second half after many chances weren’t finished.

The Minnesota goal scorer was Luis Amarilla, who put the ball past the Inter Miami goalkeeper in tight in the 65th minute. It was his first goal in MLS play since March 19.

Amarilla was in such a position to score the goal so close to the keeper because of an acrobatic one-touch centering pass from Franco Fragapane. The play all began from Emmanuel Reynoso getting the ball on the right side of the attacking zone. He cut towards the middle and sent a lofting kick that found the airborne Fragapane for his assist.

While Minnesota finally found the back of the net in the back half of the game, there was no shortage of missed opportunities earlier in the contest.

“We’re not good enough at one end, and we’re not good enough at the other, and that’s not a good recipe,” Heath said. “We’ve got to get more and more determination to get on the things in the box and we’ve certainly got to defend the goal better.”

By the end of the game, Inter Miami had eight shots on target, while Minnesota had just one, the Amarilla goal.

The loss marks the first since Minnesota announced Heath’s two-year contract extension through 2024 on Thursday. The defeat also adds to a 1-6-1 stretch over the Loons’ last eight games, including Saturday night.

Heath said on Wednesday that the goal was to come away with four points in this road trip at Inter Miami on Saturday and on Wednesday at L.A. Galaxy. With the loss to Inter Miami, that goal is no longer possible.

The Loons must keep looking forward to get back on track and into playoff contention. After the loss on Saturday, Minnesota sits 11th in the Western Conference Standings, five points outside of the seventh spot, the cutoff for the playoffs.

“The good thing is that it’s a quick turnaround,” Boxall said. “Not quite looking ahead to L.A. just yet, we still need to process this game and figure out what we need to address, because that should be three points we’re taking home tonight.”

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Twins record second shutout in three days in win over Rockies

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Twins record second shutout in three days in win over Rockies

Puffy white clouds filled the blue skies above Target Field and sunlight bounced off buildings that make up the Minneapolis skyline. It was the kind of summer night at the ballpark that Minnesotans dream about throughout the long winter months.

It was the perfect night at Target Field and the hometown team, well, they were nearly perfect, too. Twins pitchers gave up just one hit (and five walks), and the team captured a first-inning lead on its way to a 6-0 win over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night at Target Field.

A day after getting shut out for the 10th time this season, tying the league lead, Luis Arraez and Byron Buxton made sure early on that the Twins wouldn’t suffer the same fate. Arraez snapped an 0-for-11 stretch to begin the game and Buxton, back in the lineup for the first time since Tuesday, followed that up with his first triple since 2019.

After missing time this week after his knee flared up, Buxton turned on the burners, with a sprint speed of 29.3 feet/second (30 ft/sec is elite) on the triple, losing his helmet along the way. When he reached the base, he pounded his chest a couple times, smacked his hands together and let out a roar.

While the Twins left Buxton on third, they added on throughout the game, tacking on a run in the second on Arraez’s second hit of the game, two more in the fifth and two more in the seventh.

Alex Kirilloff drove in three of those runs, one on a sacrifice fly and the other on a double off the right field wall, bringing home Max Kepler — who walked three times in the game — and Kyle Garlick. The double was his fourth in eight games since being recalled from Triple-A.

All that offense came in support of Chris Archer, who worked five innings and allowed just one hit — a single to former Twin C.J. Cron in the second inning — and a walk in his outing.  Archer pitched out of that second-inning jam, retiring the next three batters in a row, the first of 12 straight that he sent down to conclude his start.

His start was followed by a scoreless inning each from Jharel Cotton and Griffin Jax and two from Tyler Thornburg. Twins pitchers have now thrown two shutouts in their past three games, and in Friday’s loss, they gave up just one run.

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A Pride timeline: Gay rights in Minnesota from 1858-2022

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A Pride timeline: Gay rights in Minnesota from 1858-2022

1858: Joseph Israel Lobdell, born Lucy Lobdell, is arrested for “impersonating a man.” A judge in the rural camp community of Forest City, Minn., sided with Lobdell, ruling that he did not act unlawfully.

1877: Minneapolis rules crossdressing as illegal, putting gender-nonconforming Minnesotans at risk for imprisonment.

1969: The Stonewall riots begin in New York City after police raids occur in the gay-friendly bars and community spaces of Lower Manhattan. These riots serve as a public turning point in American LGBTQ+ history.

May 18, 1969: University of Minnesota alumni found Fight Repression of Erotic Expression, or FREE, the first LGBTQ+ rights organization in the state. Founders Jack Baker and Michael McConnell become the first same-sex couple in the nation to apply for a marriage license, an application that is rejected by Hennepin County. Their legal case is dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court in one sentence.

1972: The first Twin Cities Pride celebration is held in Minneapolis’ Loring Park.

Dec. 9, 1972: Minnesota state Sen. Allan Henry Spear indicates he is gay in an interview with the Minneapolis Star, making him the first openly gay state legislator in the United States.

June 1982: Bruce Brockway becomes the first documented recipient of an HIV diagnosis in Minnesota. After his diagnosis, he founded the Minnesota AIDS Project to provide resources to HIV-positive Minnesotans.

1993: Gender- and sexuality-based discrimination is outlawed in Minnesota, making it the first state in the nation to adopt the policy.

1997: Sicaŋgu Lakota man Nicholas Metcalf and his partner, Korean-American Edd Lee, found the Minnesota Men of Color, an organization that focuses on the well-being of men, women and gender-nonconforming people of color.

2012: Amendment 1, which limits marriage rights to only heterosexual couples, is rejected by the majority of Minnesota voters. Same-sex marriage is legalized in the state.

June 2015: The U.S. Supreme Court releases a decision in Obergefell v. Hodges finding that same-sex marriage cannot be banned in any state and must be recognized nationally. Gay marriage is legalized.

June 25-26, 2022: After two years of pandemic-related cancellations, the Twin Cities Pride parade and festival returns to Minneapolis.

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