The Heat spent the majority of the Eastern Conference finals delivering blows to the Celtics, never quite being able to finish Boston off due to its resolve to answer at every turn.
Now, it’s Miami’s turn to step up after getting punched in the mouth.
The Heat could practically taste a trip to the NBA Finals on Saturday, leading the Celtics with just 3.0 seconds remaining in regulation of Game 6. If you aren’t aware of what happened, you should move out of the rock you’re living under and click here. The loss, after everything that led to it, is enough for most teams to pack it up and view this series as Boston’s. But Miami isn’t most teams.
“This is the way this season has been,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said postgame, per NBA-provided video. “This is one hell of a series. At this time, right now, I don’t know how we’re going to get this done but we’re going to go up there and get it done. That’s what the next 48 hours are about. There’s been nothing easy about this season for our group so we just have to do it the hard way. That’s just the way it’s gotta be for our group.
“We wish we could tip this thing off right now, right NOW. We want to tip this thing off and play another 48 minutes, but we’ll wait 48 hours and do this thing in Boston.”
It’s much easier for Spoelstra to make such strong statements from the sideline, but his players backed up the sentiment of being confident in their ability to win Game 7.
“I believe, as we all do, that you’re going to get the same test until you pass it,” Jimmy Butler said postgame, per TNT. “We were in the same position last year and we can do it. I know that we will do it. We’ve gotta go on the road in a very, very, very tough environment, but we’re capable of it. Let’s get busy.”
“It’s the first to four,” Bam Adebayo echoed, per TNT. “We knew this series wouldn’t be easy. We’re not shocked we’re in a dogfight with the Boston Celtics. It’s the first to four.”
Though they remain confident, Butler and Adebayo’s performances are perhaps the reason things have gotten this far. The two All-Stars combined for just 35 points on 9-for-37 shooting in Game 6. If Miami is going to escape history, that cannot happen again. The Celtics and Heat will now head up to Boston for Game 7. Tipoff from TD Garden is set for 8:30 p.m. ET on Monday.