The Miami Heat will meet the Denver Nuggets in the 2023 NBA Finals. Erik Spoelstra’s unit defeated Boston Celtics in Game 7 of their East Finals series, 103-84 at the TD Garden, not blowing away their 3-0 lead. The Cs were on the brink of making history and becoming the first team ever to come back from a 3-0 deficit, but even though they played at home, the most decorated franchise in the league failed to achieve its goal.
Apart from an early lead, the Celtics trailed their opponents all the time and couldn’t get a grip on the situation. We’ve seen them falling behind 55-41 at halftime without any power to push back the surging Heat.
A big morale-killer for the hosts was Jayson Tatum’s ankle injury, which the forward earned on the very first play of the game. Boston’s top scorer was unable to reach his usual performance, ending the game with 14 points and 11 boards. Tatum was visibly slowed down throughout the event.
The top scorer for the hosts was Jaylen Brown, who had only 19 points, shooting 1-for-9 for three.
“We failed. I failed, and we let the whole city down,” Brown said. “In spite of whatever circumstance we had this year, we rose to the occasion. We got to this point, and we came up short.”
Derrick White, the hero from Game 6, had 18, 2-for-9 for three, and no other player among the Cs reached a double-digit figure in the scoring column. Overall, they made only nine threes in 42 attempts.
Meanwhile, the Heat was relentless, hitting 14 of 28 attempts from the deep. Caleb Martin, who was once again a huge factor, made four, and the forward ended the game with 26 points and 10 boards.
Jimmy Butler was once again the leader of the Heat with 28 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals.
“We stayed together as a group. As a team, we talked about going and getting a tough one on the road. We did just that,” he stated.
Bam Adebayo added a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards, while two more players scored ten buckets, Gabe Vincent and Duncan Robinson.
Erik Spoelstra saw that the Cs were unable to catch the offensive rhythm following Tatum’s injury, and he adjusted his game plan in accordance with that, pushing the Cs to shoot more and more threes and putting additional pressure on the hosts’ backcourt. The Heat was up in no time, controlling the rhythm while silencing the roaring crowd.
Miami heads to the NBA Finals now, where they face the Denver Nuggets. Jokic and the boys finished their job eight days ago, beating the LA Lakers 4-0 and earning their spot in the title battle. For now, the Nuggets are favorites because of their overall performances and the fact that they have a home-court edge. Though, the Heat have shown that they don’t care about the venue, with them beating all the rivals in the playoffs at least twice on the road.
Since the NBA bubble, this is Miami’s first appearance in the NBA Finals, while on the other side, the Nuggets reached this stage for the first time in their history.
The NBA Finals start on Thursday night, with the Denver Nuggets hosting the Miami Heat at the Ball Arena in Denver. The Nuggets are -360 favorites to win the NBA title.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.