The Miami Heat once looked destined to easily cruise to the NBA Finals, leading the series 3-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics. They are now on the verge of a historic postseason collapse after an unbelievable game-winning shot by Celtics guard Derrick White saved their season in Game 6 Saturday night.
It looked like Miami was finally going to put away the Celtics late in the fourth quarter. Heat star Jimmy Butler got fouled on a three-point attempt with just 2.1 seconds remaining.
With all the pressure on his shoulders, he would make all three of his free throw attempts to take a one-point lead.
Jimmy Butler is going to the charity stripe with Game 6 on the line! 🏀pic.twitter.com/LwEQtqZ2wX
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) May 28, 2023
This created a scenario where the Celtics would have one shot to potentially force a Game 7. That is at least what Heat fans were hoping.
Celtics guard Marcus Smart took the final shot, and it nearly went in before rimming out. However, Derrick White was there to save the day with a putback layup to win the game as time expired.
THE BOSTON CELTICS FORCE A GAME 7 IN AN INSANE FINISH!
Kevin Harlan on the call. 🏀🎙️🔥 pic.twitter.com/XLgL7CfyVA
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) May 28, 2023
It wasn’t clear initially whether White had gotten the shot off before the buzzer. They took a look at the replay of the shot, which showed that it was out of his hand with 0.1 seconds on the clock.
Many around the NBA world took to social media quickly to discuss the chaotic finish.
DERRICK WHITE BUZZER BEATER FOR THE WIN 🔥🔥🔥
CELTICS SEND IT TO GAME 7. pic.twitter.com/F8bw9aYpme
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 28, 2023
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) May 28, 2023
DERRICK WHITE CALLED GAME 😱 pic.twitter.com/5pSNFYqAk6
— NBA TV (@NBATV) May 28, 2023
DERRICK WHITE SAVES THE CELTICS SEASON. pic.twitter.com/566F29RWEV
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) May 28, 2023
DERRICK WHITE SAID IT'S NOT OVERpic.twitter.com/lw7D0OKt60
— DraftKings (@DraftKings) May 28, 2023
DERRICK WHITE GAME WINNER. 🔥🔥
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) May 28, 2023
This win puts the Celtics in rare territory, becoming the fourth team to force a Game 7 after trailing a playoff series 3-0. All three teams before them lost in those games, with the most recent coming in 2003.
The Celtics are the fourth team to force a Game 7 after trailing a playoff series 3-0. Other instances:
-1951 NBA Finals: Knicks forced Game 7 vs. Rochester Royals
-1994 West Semifinals: Nuggets forced Game 7 vs. Jazz
-2003 West First Round: Blazers forced Game 7 vs. Mavericks
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) May 28, 2023
The Celtics have become accustomed to having their backs up against the wall. That will no longer be the case, heading to a Game 7 in TD Garden on Monday night with all of the momentum on their side.
[Awful Announcing on Twitter] Photo Credit: TNT