The Heat Shocked The Celtics In Game 7 Behind A Huge Caleb Martin Game

The Miami Heat will head out to Denver, where a very well-rested Nuggets team awaits, for the NBA Finals after blowing the doors off of the Celtics in Boston, 103-84, on Monday night in a stunning Game 7 performance.

It took 26 seconds for the Celtics to see disaster strike, as Jayson Tatum rolled his left ankle on the first possession of the game when he landed on Gabe Vincent’s foot on a floater while drawing a foul. Tatum would stay in the game, but was clearly not right as he could not move laterally and lacked much of any burst on the offensive end, scoring just 14 points on 5-of-13 shooting. It took some time for the Heat to take advantage of Boston’s star being hobbled, as the two teams engaged in an early rock fight, but behind yet another sensational performance from Caleb Martin and continued strong three-point shooting as a team, they steadily pulled away to an 11-point halftime lead.

The Celtics, meanwhile, continued their horrific shooting from long range, missing their first 11 three-point attempts and finishing the night 9-of-42 (one game after winning despite a 7-of-35 effort). Miami’s defense deserves a ton of credit for walling off the rim, particularly Bam Adebayo’s effort on switches to keep Boston’s wings in front of him in the pick-and-roll game. Even so, the Boston offense’s stagnation with Tatum unable to be at full strength was tough to watch, with Jaylen Brown forcing it with an 8-of-23 shooting night, matching his made field goal total with his turnover total (8), and the only player seemingly up for the challenge being Derrick White, although he eventually cooled off and had to battle his own knee injury.

On the other side, it was the Caleb Martin show, as he continued his phenomenal series by scoring 26 points (11-of-16 shooting) and pulling down 10 rebounds, hitting seemingly every big shot to keep the Heat comfortably in front in the third quarter as Boston tried to mount a comeback.

Jimmy Butler also stepped up in a big way following his Game 6 struggles, leading all scorers with 28 points (12-of-28 shooting) and, after another rough start, finally ditching the pumpfakes and being more decisive both going to the rim and pulling up for jumpers.

While the game was still in doubt to start the fourth, with Miami only up 10, any hopes of a Boston comeback were quickly squashed as the Heat took full control early in the fourth with more great defense leading to easy offense to push the lead out to 21.

Overall, Miami shot 48.8 percent from the field and 50 percent from three on the night, as they just continue to get incredible efforts from the likes of Martin, Duncan Robinson, Gabe Vincent, and the rest of their rotation. While Adebayo struggled to make a big impact offensively, his defensive presence was huge and helped hold Boston to 39 percent shooting from the field and forced them to spend most of the night shooting on the perimeter, where they shot a dismal 21.4 percent.

Miami will now face a very different test in the Denver Nuggets, where Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray have looked unstoppable offensively through three rounds, but if they keep shooting the way they have this postseason, they’ll have a real chance at another shocking upset.

For Boston, the season comes to an end with a thud, as for the second time this series in a crucial spot they laid an egg. Scoring 84 in a Game 7 at home, even factoring in the Tatum injury, is an abysmal effort and this summer will be very interesting as there could be some changes on the horizon for a team that’s been one of the East’s most consistent performers — but only has one Finals appearance to show for it.