Heat Make Own History by Winning Game 7 in Boston in Impressive Fashion

Monday night in the 2023 NBA Playoffs was going to produce history either way, but it ended up going the way of the Miami Heat, the second No. 8 seed to reach the NBA Finals. The Heat’s 103-84 win in Game 7 was impressive and a major disappointment for Boston, which was hoping to become the first team in NBA history to come back from a 3-0 deficit.

The First Quarter Told the Story

Miami Heat
Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA – Photo by Icon sport

Something had to give after a wild Game 6 where Boston shot 20% from 3-point territory (worst game of the season) and Miami shot 30.6% from 2-point range (worst game of the season). You expected positive regression for both, but the Celtics came out and shot 0-for-10 from 3 in the first quarter and tied a season-low with 15 points. Miami led 22-15 and never had to look back the rest of the night after a sluggish start to the game.

Boston missed its first 12 3s and would finish 9-for-42 from deep (21.4%). The Celtics shot the 3rd-most 3s in NBA history in the regular season, but that reliance really burned them in this series where they were often terrible from downtown.

It did not help that Jayson Tatum hurt his ankle in the game’s first minute. But he played 41:36 and finished with 14 points on 13 shots and 11 rebounds.

Jaylen Brown was an even bigger disaster for the Celtics. He shot 8-of-23 for 19 points, but he also had 8 turnovers, which was one more than the rest of the team combined (7).

Meanwhile, the Heat remained hot from 3, making 14-of-28 shots with Jimmy Butler going 3-of-7, something he usually does not do. But the star may have been Caleb Martin, who had 26 points on 11-of-16 shooting and also had 10 rebounds. He was outstanding and really had an argument for winning Eastern Conference Finals MVP, but the award ultimately went to Butler.

Gabe Vincent and Duncan Robinson also had some timely baskets, answering the rare Boston 3 with some big shots of their own, never allowing the Celtics to make a real game of it. The best the Celtics could do in the entire second half was pull within 7 points a few times in the third quarter. The deficit was double digits for the entire fourth quarter, Miami leaving no doubt which team deserved to win this series in the end.

History Either Way

There is a reason teams are now 0-151 when trailing 3-0 in a best-of-7 in NBA history. There was a lot of energy expended by the Celtics to get to this point, and they looked wasted on Monday night. This is also the seventh time in a row where a team lost Game 6 at home by 1-5 points before winning Game 7 on the road.

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra is headed to the NBA Finals for the 6th time, tying Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich for the 3rd-most conference championships, only trailing Phil Jackson (13) and Pat Riley (9).

The Heat will be underdogs against the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Finals, but this might already be the greatest run by a bottom seed in playoff history. When the Knicks reached the Finals in 1999, that was a shortened 50-game season, and the first round was a best-of-5 instead of a best-of-7. The Knicks lost 4-1 to the Spurs in the Finals that year.

As for the Celtics, they will have decisions to make on their future after coming up short again. The Celtics have been to five of the last seven Eastern Conference Finals, but they only have an 0-1 record in the NBA Finals to show for it.

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