NBA Finals spot at stake as Heat and Celtics gear up for Game 7

Moments after Boston’s dramatic victory in Miami on Saturday night, Jaylen Brown began to think about the future. He raised his hands, put out seven fingers, and started yelling, “Game 7! Game 7!

Game 7, yes.

Brown and Boston are on the cusp of history after a crushing shot from Derrick White led the Celtics to a 104–103 victory over the Heat in Game 6. One of the league’s most legendary franchises is trying to become the first team in NBA playoff history. to overcome a 3-0 deficit to win the series to seven wins.

Next up is another game of the Eastern Conference Finals on Monday night in Boston. And it seems that this series of endless skirmishes is nearing an epic conclusion.

The Celtics became the fourth NBA team to tie at 3-0 in a best-of-seven series and force a decider. The previous three teams—the 1951 New York Knicks in the NBA Finals, the 1994 Denver Nuggets in the second round, and the 2003 Portland Trail Blazers in the first round—lost Game 7 on the road.

“We’ve got another chance, another opportunity,” said Jason Tatum, who posted 31 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists in Game 6 to join Larry Bird as the only other Celtic to hit double-digit playoff games. -off with at least 30 points. 10 rebounds and 5 assists. “It’s far from over. It’s still an uphill battle. But it’s always nice to give yourself another chance, another opportunity.”

Boston is looking to extend a frantic postseason that already includes five pre-elimination wins – twice in the East semi-finals after a 3-2 loss to the 76ers, and now three in a row against the Heat.

The Celtics are 27-9 in Game 7 and have won their last four, including a 112-88 win over Philadelphia in the previous round in which Tatum scored 51 points, the most in Game 7 in NBA history. Boston also beat the Heat in Game 7 in Miami in last year’s Eastern Finals when Jimmy Butler missed what should have been a 3-pointer with 17 seconds left.

Hit 6-5 all-time in Game 7, losing the last two. Miami is 0-2 when faced with such a game on the road.

Sunday’s winner will advance to the NBA Finals against Western Conference champion Denver Nuggets.

Despite being denied a Finals three straight games, Miami coach Eric Spoelstra said his message to the team after Saturday’s loss was to focus on the next game. Let the past be the past.

“Let’s just team up with each other,” Spoelstra said. “These are emotional games and things can fluctuate in the seventh game. The pressure in the seventh game can change a lot. We’re not going anywhere.”

But what is perhaps most troubling ahead of Monday’s Heat is that the Celtics, usually reliant on their ability to make three-point shots, were able to pull off Saturday’s win despite making 7 out of playoff depth. 35 attempts.

In addition, until Butler scored 10 points in just two minutes to put the Heat ahead, he played little role that evening, when he scored just 5 points from 21 from the field. Over the past three games, Butler has scored a total of 19 of 55.

He said it didn’t shake his resolve to do whatever he could to prevent Miami’s disappointing ending.

“I swear you will take the same test until you pass it,” Butler said. “We were in the same position last year. We can do it. I know that we will make it. We have to go and win in a very, very, very difficult environment.”

This Wednesday turned out to be the city that is home to the first and so far only team in Major League Baseball history to return to a 3-0 series.

This team, the 2004 World Series champion Red Sox, rose from that hole in the American League Championship Series against the rival New York Yankees.

David Ortiz, 2004 ALCS MVP, said it made sense that the Celtics would be able to do things that were previously unthinkable.

“Yes, and there would be no better time than now for that,” Ortiz said in an interview with The Associated Press. “If you do it in basketball, it has to be the same city.”

The Celtics are just 5-5 at home during these playoffs, but there’s no better place than their season on the line.

“It will be huge. The best two words in sports are “Game 7,” Brown said. “And our home crowd, I know they will bring energy. So, I’m excited.”

There was no word on the status of Boston guard Malcolm Brogdon in Game 7. The sixth NBA Player of the Year missed Saturday night’s win with a sprained right forearm.

In Brogdon’s absence, Boston’s reserves lost 22–11. Robert Williams III retired to the locker room late in the second quarter with a left wrist injury, but returned in the second half to finish the game with 10 points and seven rebounds in 17 minutes of the evening.

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