Heading into Game 7 against the Heat, the Celtics had just about everything going in their favor. Despite that, they lost and lost big. May 29, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) and guard Marcus Smart (36) and forward Blake Griffin (91) and guard Jaylen Brown (7) react from the bench during the fourth quarter against the Miami Heat in game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals for the 2023 NBA playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Fans of the Boston Celtics watched Monday night’s Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals hoping to see the Celtics do what their beloved Boston Red Sox did 19 years earlier, coming back from a 3-0 series deficit. But the 2023 Miami Heat were in no mood to play the role of the 2004 New York Yankees.

The Heat routed the Celtics, 103-84 to advance to the NBA Finals against the Denver Nuggets.

Everything seemed to be perfectly lined up for the Celtics. They had the momentum, having beaten the Heat in three straight, including a thrilling Game 6. They had the home-court advantage — and the Boston fans were rabid. At least, they were rabid to start.

By the end of the game, the remaining fans at TD Garden had a decidedly different attitude.

So, what happened? Several things.

The Heat had a great game. Jimmy Butler led the way with 28 points, on way to winning the Larry Bird Trophy for the series MVP.

Caleb Martin complemented Butler beautifully, scoring 26 points.

For the Celtics, meanwhile, it was a trainwreck.

Jayson Tatum got hurt in the game’s opening seconds. And while he still logged 42 minutes and had a double-double, he was clearly not at peak form. Tatum finished the game with 14 points, shooting 5-for-13 from the field and 1-for-4 on three-pointers.

Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart led the Celtics in scoring for the night, finishing with 19 and 18, respectively. But that was more about volume shooting than anything. Brown was 8-for-23 from the field and 1-for-9 on threes, while Smart was 4-for-10 from the field and 1-for-6 on threes.

And the three-point shooting was perhaps the greatest difference in the game. For the night, the Celtics attempted 42 three-point shots while the Heat attempted 28. Despite that, Miami made more three-pointers, nailing 14 while Boston only hit 9.

Boston’s performance was roundly criticized after the game.



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