After game winner by Derrick White in Game 6, Celtics favored big over Heat in Monday's Game 7

May 27, 2023 10:02 PM

Celtics on brink of becoming first team to win playoff series after going down 0-3

When Marcus Smart’s turnaround jumper rattled in and out in Saturday’s Game 6 matchup between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat, it looked as though Jimmy Butler and Co. were heading to the NBA Finals for a meeting with the Denver Nuggets. However, the Heat did a poor job of boxing out and Derrick White was able to lay the ball in at the buzzer for a stunning 104-103 Celtics victory.

No team in NBA history has come back from a 3-0 deficit, but Boston has now knotted things up at 3-3 after going down 0-3. The two will now clash in a Game 7 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts on Monday, May 29th.

The Celtics opened as 8.5-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook, but the line has moved to -7.5 at DK and -7 across Las Vegas.

Boston is also a -345 favorite on the moneyline, and Miami’s odds to win the NBA Finals are now all the way down at +1500 — with the Nuggets favored at -130 and the Celtics a little behind at +125.

To say that this series has been a roller coaster would be an understatement. Heading into Game 1, the Celtics were -600 favorites to advance to the NBA Finals. Those odds made for an implied probability of 85.7%, but the Heat stole Game 1 and then looked like a significantly better basketball team than the Celtics up until Game 4, when Boston was able to scratch and claw its way to a win. Miami had a shot at winning that game, but it slipped away. And now we’re here, with one game left to decide it all.

When the Celtics were down 3-0 in this series, they could have been found at +1100 to win the Eastern Conference Finals. So, Boston has experienced all sorts of highs and lows throughout this series, but the team is now back on the brink of making it to the NBA Finals. However, if we have learned anything throughout the course of this postseason, it’s that you can’t count out a Butler-led team — especially when it’s one that is coached by Erik Spoelstra. Miami nearly missed out on the playoffs entirely, as the team trailed the Chicago Bulls late in the Play-In Tournament game for the eighth seed. But the rest is history, with the Heat finding a way to emerge and then knocking out the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks and fifth-seeded New York Knicks.

Boston is just the fourth team in NBA history to force a Game 7 after having trailed 3-0 in a playoff series. It most recently happened in 2004, when the Portland Trail Blazers pushed the Dallas Mavericks to a decider in the opening round of the postseason. But will the Celtics do what the Blazers couldn’t and finish this thing off?

NBA teams are 150-0 when leading 3-0 in the postseason, but the oddsmakers sure like the Celtics to make it 150-1. And while this group has experienced some ups and downs in these playoffs, Boston was the favorite to win the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy before the season began. So, this situation is rather new for everybody. A lot of people thought the Celtics would be able to sweep the Heat in this series, as Miami is playing shorthanded and probably doesn’t belong here anyway. Boston will now have a chance to go for the reverse sweep. And the team will be doing so at home, with all the momentum in the world.   

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