No. 8 seed Miami advances to NBA Finals, avoids being on wrong side of history against Celtics


The glass slipper went missing for a bit, but the Cinderella run continues for the Miami Heat.

The No. 8 seed avoided being on the wrong side of history Monday night with their 103-84 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Things started badly for Boston from the jump, as Jayson Tatum rolled his ankle on the very first possession of the game. It didn’t limit him minutes-wise, but Miami took advantage throughout the entire night.

Miami led by as many as 17 in the second quarter, but Boston managed to cut the deficit to seven in the third. After leading 76-66 through three, Miami started the fourth quarter on a 20-7 run to lead by 23 – the largest of the night.


Caleb Martin #16 of the Miami Heat attempts a three point basket against Derrick White #9 of the Boston Celtics during the third quarter in game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals at Boston’s TD Garden. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Miami is now 88-0 when leading a playoff game by at least 10 points in the fourth quarter.

Jimmy Butler dropped 28 points, which hardly surprises anybody. The spark plug for the Heat was Caleb Martin, who dropped 26 points on 11-of-16 shooting going 4-for-6 from three.

No Celtic scored 20 points during the match and Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for a stunning 13-for-36 from the floor.

The second-seeded Celtics became the fourth team in NBA history to force a Game 7 after trailing three games to none, and the first since the 2003 Portland Trail Blazers. With all the momentum on Boston’s side, hardly anyone expected the eighth-seeded Heat to get a victory on the road. But alas, it remains that no NBA team has completed the comeback from down 3-0.

Jimmy Butler dunk on Jaylen Brown

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) dunks against Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) during the fourth quarter of game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals for the 2023 NBA playoffs at TD Garden.  (Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)


Boston was the first team to host Game 7 after regaining momentum and tying the series following three straight losses, but the Heat also made history of their own by becoming the first No. 8 seed to make the finals in a full NBA season.

The 1998-99 New York Knicks were the No. 8 seed and made it to that season’s finals, but that season was just 50 games long thanks to the lockout that year. The lowest seed to ever win the NBA Finals is the sixth-seeded Houston Rockets of 1994-95. They also are the first play-in team to make the finals.

Jimmy Butler dribbles the ball in Game 7

Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat dribbles during the third quarter against the Boston Celtics in game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 29, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)


The Heat will face the West’s top-seeded Denver Nuggets, who are in their first NBA Finals in franchise history.

Tip off is set for Thursday at 8:30 p.m. in Denver.

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