The Miami Heat avoided humiliation on Monday with a Game 7 win over the Boston Celtics to avoid snuffing out a 3-0 series lead, and the game was explosive enough for the team to show again a bit of bluster.
The most notable moment in that regard came from 3-point specialist Duncan Robinson, who blasted his way through Boston’s defense for a layup in the fourth quarter to push the Heat’s lead to 94-73. with six minutes to play. As the Celtics called time out and his team ran on the floor, Robinson hit a silent TD Garden with a hand to his ear.
The message: “I can’t hear you”, à la Hulk Hogan.
That layup was part of a 10-point night for Robinson, who is part of the Heat’s vaunted stable of unheralded prospects turned playoff-ready rotation players.
The taunt quickly went viral as the final nail in the Celtics’ season coffin, enough for Robinson to later move on to the “Old Man & the Three” podcast with JJ Redick and Tommy Alter to talk about it.
There, Robinson revealed there was a backstory to his taunt. The New Hampshire native had apparently been randomly added to a group chat of Celtics fans, who tore him apart after the Heat’s heartbreaking Game 6 loss to force Game 7. The loss was particularly painful for Robinson, who missed a pair of 3-pointers. in the final minutes that could have saved the game.
Robinson, 29, responded by planning a rematch.
Here’s how he explained it:
“I don’t know how it happened – maybe someone I was with in high school or something, because I still have the same number from when I was in high school – my number has been put in a group chat somewhere, and it was a massive group chat After losing game 6, my phone explodes from all these random New England numbers, like “Get f*** ed,” “Celts in seven.” They send me Curt Schilling’s fucking sock memes and it’s just all these random numbers. Like, 70 texts.
“I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ and I’m also pissed because I’m on the heels of this crushing loss where I missed a few shots on the stretch that I’d like to get back. So I’m in my feelings and really worked on that. I’m like “Who gave my fucking number? How did that happen?” So I started thinking, I’m creating all these scenarios in my head. I’m like, ‘If I get the chance, I’m going to go to the Garden and do something, and I didn’t know what it was going to do. “. be.'”
It’s safe to say that Robinson had his chance.
The response to Robinson’s taunt was largely positive outside of New England – like most bad things that happen to Boston sports teams – but he knew enough people in the area that he also heard the backlash:
“You’d be shocked at how many people really bothered. I heard a lot of people…it was very polarized. Some people loved it and then obviously all the people who are bitter at home said ‘C was so useless, ‘classless’, the whole thing.”
Anyway, Robinson’s only regret seems to be that he didn’t get more points when he reached for his ear:
“It would have been nice if it was after my seventh three, but I didn’t have the luxury of it. So I was like, ‘There’s an opportunity, they just called a timeout, l place is absolutely silent. I ‘I’ll just jump on it.’ “
Robinson and the Heat are now set to face the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Finals, Miami’s sixth trip to the Finals since 2011 (and second since LeBron James left). Game 1 is scheduled for Thursday at 8:30 p.m. ET in Denver (ABC).