- The Boston Celtics are one win away from making history alongside an NBA Finals trip
- After a close call in Game 6, oddsmakers believe the Celtics can pull out the series victory
- The Celtics will need to focus on some key areas to come away with the improbable comeback
The Boston Celtics are only the fourth team in NBA history to force a Game 7 after going down 3-0 in the series and oddsmakers believe they will be the first-ever team to complete such a momentous comeback.
Sports betting sites such as FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and PointsBet all have the Celtics as the favorite to win Game 7, with the first three sites claiming it at minus-300. Meanwhile, PointsBet has that same outcome at minus-323.
As for the Miami Heat, FanDuel has them advancing to the NBA Finals at plus-245, DraftKings at plus-250, BetMGM at plus-240, and PointsBet at plus-250.
When the Heat sprinted to a 3-0 lead that featured comeback victories in Games 1 and 2 followed by an all-time demolition job in Game 3, many grew convinced that the eighth-seed that many saw as an afterthought would be taking on the Denver Nuggets in the Finals.
However, the Celtics sprung to life in the next two games with a 17-point and 13-point rout of the Heat before a Game 6 matchup for the ages.
With three seconds on the clock and a one-point Heat lead staring them down, Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla had to draw something up to save their season at the Kaseya Center.
As the Heat’s defense clamped down on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, it opened up the floor for Marcus Smart to throw up a three that rimmed out, only for Derrick White to crash the paint and tip-in the game-winner with 0.1 on the clock.
Entering Game 7, the momentum has fully swung in favor of the Celtics after pulling off a heart-stopping victory reminiscent of Kawhi Leonard and Deandre Ayton in the 2019 and 2021 playoffs respectively.
One important stat that the Celtics will need to pay particular attention to is their three-point shooting, which has been their Achilles heel throughout the Eastern Conference Finals.
In Game 6, they put up their worst three-point shooting night as a team, only making seven of their 35 attempts–good for 20%.
Against a Heat team with nothing to lose and everything to gain by stifling an improbable series upset, the Celtics will need to use their overall talent to overwhelm the Heat, who are unlikely to have Gabe Vincent available on the floor in what could be their final game of the season.
On paper, the Celtics are a better team than the Heat based on star power alone, but what they lacked early on in the series is what the Heat have in droves–effort and drive.
Butler and co-star Bam Adebayo cannot afford to have another dismal shooting night like they had in Game 6, where they scored a combined 35 points on 9-of-37 shooting from the floor.
With a trip to the NBA Finals and history on the line entering Game 7, the Celtics’ sudden ability to come alive when it matters most may be the one factor that puts them above the Heat and into the NBA Finals for the second year in a row.
Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Celtics and Heat will be played on the iconic parquet floor of the TD Garden on Monday, May 29 at 8:30 PM ET on TNT.