Martin and Butler fire Heat to resilient Game 7 win on the road, Heat beat Celtics to advance to Finals

This is what resilience looks like. What does the heart look like.

Miami had to battle through the play-in, coming back late against the Bulls to earn the No. 8 seed. Then they beat the formidable Milwaukee Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Then they beat the fiery New York Knicks. All this to get the most talented team in the NBA, the Boston Celtics, on paper.

Miami took a 3-0 series lead and then saw the Celtics come back – taking a punch in the gut with the backing of Derrick White to win Game 6 and force a Game 7. Most teams will would have returned after this defeat.

Miami came out hungry in Game 7, punched the Celtics in the mouth in the first quarter, pulled away in the second to take a double-digit lead and never let Boston back down, eventually taking their heart and game, 103-84.

The Miami Heat advance to the NBA Finals, flying directly after that game to Denver where they will face Nikola Jokić and the Nuggets starting Thursday night.

Caleb Martin was the MVP that game — 26 points on 11 of 16 shooting, plus 10 rebounds — and was the Heat’s best player throughout the series.

However, voters bestowed the Eastern Conference Finals MVP award on Jimmy Butler, who scored 28 in that game and bounced back from a few rough outings.

For Boston, the game may have turned on the team’s first possession when Jayson Tatum spun his ankle, landing on Gabe Vincent after a jumper. He stayed in the game and finished with 14 points, but he never moved the same and wasn’t the threat the Celtics needed as a shot-maker with the ball in his hands.

With Tatum injured, the Celtics led much of their offense through Derrick White and he responded with 18 points.

With Tatum down, the Celtics needed more Jaylen Brown, who scored 19 points but shot 8 of 23 with eight turnovers. It wasn’t enough.

Both teams were tight going into the game (as is often the case in Game 7) and it was mostly seen with the Celtics shooting 0 of 10 from 3. Miami started slow but did better at settle into his offense and led 22-15 after one quarter. Their hot streak extended to a 25-7 streak early in the second.

The Heat extended the lead to 17 and led 11 at halftime thanks to 14 from Caleb Martin and 11 from Jimmy Butler in the first 24. The Celtics were lucky to be this close shooting 4 of 21 from 3 and Jayson Tatum scoring just seven points. What kept Boston close were the seven offensive rebounds.

Miami made a push in the third quarter, had some stretching momentum with White hitting shots and making plays, but they couldn’t stop and going into the fourth they were still down 10.

Then the Heat started the fourth on a 7-0 run, which was the ball game.

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Martin and Butler fire Heat to resilient Game 7 road win, Heat beat Celtics to advance to Finals originally appeared on

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