Posted: Monday, May 29, 2023. 9:21 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: The weight of history appeared to crush the Boston Celtics, who wasted an opportunity to close out the seven-game series at home and lost 103-84 tonight to the visiting Miami Heat.
Before this series, 150 of 150 teams had failed to win a series after trailing 0-3, including three who forced a seventh game. All three of those teams played Game 7 on the road; the Celtics were the first to do it at home.
The eighth seeds nonetheless rallied from a crushing Game 6 defeat at home, stifling Boston in the zone defense and lighting up their top shooters, including series most valuable player (MVP) Jimmy Butler, who scored 28 and pulled seven rebounds. Butler swore after Game 6 that they would not quit and that they would win, and delivered on both counts.
The Celtics had another poor shooting night from behind the three-point arc and did themselves in with poor decision-making and turnovers as they were unable to emulate their neighbours the Red Sox, who eliminated hated rivals the New York Yankees at the same stage in 2004 en route to a first World Series in 86 years.
The Heat’s reward is a meeting with Western Conference champion the Denver Nuggets, who crushed all before them including the Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers, led by all-world star Nikola Jokic.
Their first match is on Thursday night in Denver.
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