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No matter what, the Miami Heat had to win Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to avoid the biggest postseason comeback in NBA history by Boston. Or an all-time collapse.
Miami Heat Get Hot At The Right (?) Time
Stepping up to the spotlight was Heat guard Caleb Martin, who scored 26 points on 11 of 16 shooting. Leading the Heat was team alpha Jimmy Butler: scoring a game-high 28 points and appearing back in his groove after disappearing during Boston’s hot streak.
Miami was on the hot seat after letting three straight games slip to let Boston back, 3-3, in the ECF series. Games 4 through 6 were a historic letdown by the Heat but one that will ultimately be forgotten in time after Boston failed to complete their Red Sox-like rally.
Luckily, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra figured out the mistakes from his rotations — giving more time to Duncan Robinson to aid the regular-season’s worst offense against Boston’s resurgent shooting from 3.
Miami will head into the Finals as the lowest-scoring team ever to play on the big stage.
It’s the first time in 24 years that an eighth-seeded team won the Eastern Conference Finals, as noted by the broadcast.
Miami’s Cinderella Run Continues
Boston was the fourth team in NBA Playoffs history to push a series to seven games after falling 0-3.
For three straight games, shots weren’t falling for Miami’s biggest stars. Bam Adebayo and the NBA postseason MVP in Butler couldn’t figure out how to score from the paint and appeared lethargic on defense.
It was Boston’s turn to fumble the series as Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Derrick White crashed back down to Earth in the one-sided Memorial Day matchup.
The starting five was pulled with two minutes left in the contest as Miami reached a near-20-point advantage. All five Celtics starters finished the game in the negatives in the plus-minus column.
Miami can finally exhale, albeit not for long.
The Heat practically guaranteed their win on Monday by booking their flights to Denver, which also could have severely backfired had they lost.
Butler, Martin and the Heat will fulfill their flight plan to Denver and take on a Nuggets team that swept the red-hot Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.
Jimmy Butler was crowned as the Eastern Conference Finals MVP. Simply put, Butler is him!
“We’ve got four more to get,” Jimmy Butler told TNT’s Ernie Johnson.
Game 1 of the NBA Finals starts on Thursday (Jun. 1) at Ball Arena in Denver.