The Boston Celtics were on the brink of another painful elimination in the Eastern Conference Finals. After suffering a Game 3 demolition at the hands of the eighth-seeded Miami Heat, there were murmurs of Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla being sacked in the offseason, or even Jaylen Brown being shipped out because Boston would not be willing to reward him with the contract he desires.
All the negative energy and harsh criticism were thrown down the drain as the Celtics have racked up three successive victories with two of them coming at Kaseya Center. Derrick White's game-winner was one of the luckiest in NBA Playoff history, as he converted a tip-in with .2 left on the clock after Marcus Smart missed a turnaround three-pointer.
Momentum is all on the side of the Celtics entering Monday's epic at TD Garden. Here are three reasons why Boston will win Game 7 to complete a historic comeback against the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Boston will shoot better than 20% from long distance
Even though Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo had average numbers in Game 6, the Heat were in the thick of things for 48 minutes. Caleb Martin and Duncan Robinson were a massive reason why Miami was even in the game, but the primary difference was the subpar outside shooting of the Celtics. Seven makes in 35 tries will not happen again in Game 7, but Boston managed to squeak out a crucial victory anyway.
The Celtics have been converting over 14 threes per game in the postseason, so the expectation is for them to be at that range in Game 7. That is 35 more points from long distance, an immense addition to the scoring total in the do-or-die match. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown had 31 and 26 points, respectively, but they combined to miss all 12 of their tries from behind the arc. Don't expect that to continue Monday night.
The Celtics thrive in Game 7s
Young teams tend to crumble on the biggest stage when the lights are brightest. The Celtics have already won several critical Game 7s during the Tatum and Brown era. Two vital victories in last year's East Semis and East Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat were some of the biggest ones for Boston. The massive win over the Philadelphia 76ers in the previous round was a fantastic one as well.
Tatum has the record for most points scored in a Game 7. Grant Williams tallied 27 points in last year's Game 7 against the Bucks. These prime examples of the Celtics excelling in a do-or-die contest is an intimidating sign for the Heat. For the Beantown Boys, the hope is for them not to be overconfident after three consecutive wins and still continue showcasing palpable grit and determination.
Boston has the more talented roster
In Game 7s, you throw out all the schemes, plays and Xs and Os. The attributes that separate the winner from the loser is the hunger and grit factor from the star players of the Celtics. The skill and talent of the roster of Boston is outstanding, and they have also shown remarkable perseverance while snatching the last three games of the series.
The Heat will come out with the same energy and confidence to save their season, but Boston's seven core guys will propel them to victory in Game 7. They have not shown signs of slowing down, and Game 7 will be history in the making at TD Garden.