clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Making history goes both ways

While the Boston Celtics want to make history, the Miami Heat will want to avoid it.

Milwaukee Bucks Vs Boston Celtics At TD Garden Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

As we prepare for Game 7 between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, the term ‘making history’ continues to be thrown around. Yes, it’s true: no team has ever bounced back from a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series, and right now, the Celtics stand on the cusp of a memorable achievement.

Making history in front of your hometown crowd at the TD Garden will make things even sweeter, too. Your own slice of history for a franchise that is as storied as it is successful. However, for all the motivation that we expect the Celtics to have and all the desire we expect them to show, we can’t forget that Miami has the exact same reasons to be fired up.

The Heat are a proud organization. The term ‘Heat Culture,’ while often overused, is a term that displays how well-run their organization is while praising their keen eye for talent and commitment to player development. That franchise isn’t going to be eager to fall on the wrong side of the history books on Monday night.

Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo won’t be coming back to Boston with the notion of being remembered for an all-time choke job, either. Instead, they will want to stop the scrolls of NBA folklore from being rewritten. They will want to stifle the scribes who will be waiting on tenterhooks for the final whistle, forcing them to tear up their rough drafts.

But most of all, they will want revenge for Game 7 last year.

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game Seven Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

It was Miami who had to make way for last season's Celtics. It was Miami who watched the NBA Finals from home, wondering if they could have had a different result against the Golden State Warriors. And it was Miami who had to watch as the Celtics tore the NBA to shreds in the early part of this season. So, it’s fair to assume there’s a pretty sizeable chip on their shoulder right now.

Let’s not get it twisted, though; neither team is coming into this contest without serious pressure on their shoulders. Sure, the Celtics carry all of the momentum, and Jayson Tatum has a budding track record for Game 7s at home. However, Butler has a track record of coming up big when it matters most, too.

The difference is that the Heat is playing with house money. Nobody expected Miami to get back to the Eastern Conference Finals, whereas everybody was expecting the Celtics to be there. So, only one team is playing to live up to preseason expectations, and that itself is a genuine mountain Boston will need to climb throughout the full 48 minutes.

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game Six Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Passion and pressure won’t be the two defining factors in Monday’s game, though. Instead, it will come down to which team executes their coach's game plan and manages to impose their brand of basketball onto their opponent.

For all the talk of Miami shocking the Celtics in the opening three games, those losses were as much about Boston failing to play their game as they were about Miami’s deadeye three-point shooting, whereas the Celtics' three straight wins have come from execution and game planning.

The decision to put a helper around the nail has stifled Miami’s elbow actions that usually saw a slasher curling before barreling down the center of the court. Weakside defensive rotations are pressuring shooters as they attack closeouts. And ensuring there is a big man between the ball and the basket when guarding snaked dribbles off of pick-and-roll actions are ensuring there is no easy bucket.

Boston rediscovered their identity in this series. In a way, it reminds me of the fight scene from Kobra Kai Season 3, where Miguel Diaz eventually gets tired of taking a beating and digs deep to fight through the mental block that was there following his spinal injury.

With all this being said, I am still praying for a Celtics victory, so we can see them enter an NBA Finals as the team with more experience. I, too, want to rejoice in history being made. But I’m under no illusions that the Heat will be doing everything in their power to stop the history books from having a new entry added late on Monday night.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Celtics Blog Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Boston Celtics news from Celtics Blog