CAN BOSTON DO THE IMPOSSIBLE?

2023-05-27 · 3 min read · NBA/Basketball
Boston Celtics

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images | USA TODAY Sports

Can Boston do the Impossible?
After an embarrassing 128-102 game 3 loss to put the Boston Celtics down 3-0 in their Eastern Conference Finals matchup against Miami, the Celtic obituaries were already being put out.
Heading into Game 4, there was little belief around the basketball world that Boston would even be able to avoid the sweep, let alone come back from a 3-0 deficit, something no NBA team has ever done in the history of the game.
But then, something strange happened. Midway through the second quarter, a certain former New York Yankees shortstop named Derek Jeter was shown sitting courtside on the broadcast, a member of the Yankees squad that famously squandered a 3-0 series lead to another Boston franchise, the Red Sox, back in ‘04.
Was it a simple coincidence? Or a sign from God?
Well, Boston ended up winning Game 4 by 17 points. Then, they returned home and dominated the Heat from start to finish in game 5, taking the game by a score of 110-97. So here we are. Boston has managed to bring the series to 3-2, with a massive game 6 set in Miami on Saturday night.
They still have a long way to go, but it's starting to feel like maybe, just maybe, the Celtics can pull this miracle off.
How have they managed to fight back? The number one reason is their defensive intensity, which was lacking in the early parts of the series. They’re getting up and pressuring the ball, forcing more turnovers, and preventing Miami’s role players from getting any space. They also turned up the Heat (no pun intended) on Miami’s star forward Jimmy Butler, who was held to just 14 points in Game 5.
Head Coach Joe Mazzula has made adjustments as well, calling more run-stopping timeouts, as opposed to letting his team try to play through runs, something he’s been criticized for a ton this season. He notably called a timeout with 31 seconds left in the 3rd quarter of Game 5, in an attempt to stop any kind of momentum for the Heat.
Boston’s best players have stepped up as well. Jason Tatum put up 33 points in Game 4, followed by a near triple double of 21 points, 11 assists and 8 rebounds in Game 5. The Heat also are without point guard Gabe Vincent due to injury, whose cool head and shot making ability were sorely missed in Miami’s most recent loss.
As mentioned, Boston still has a big hill to climb. Beating a Butler-led team two more times in a row is easier said than done. But it’s clear that Miami’s swagger and confidence, which was at an all time high after Game 3, has taken a major hit.
Now, all the pressure is on them to put the series away at home in Game 6, because if they don’t they’ll have to return to Boston for a potential Game 7, where you know the Celtics’ crowd would be absolutely delirious.
Now, Boston could lose Game 6 by 10 points, and no one would be surprised, but something about this series is starting to have that magical feel. The all time record for NBA teams facing a 3-0 deficit is 0-150.
If Boston can pull this off, they might have Jeter to thank.
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By: Eddie Huband

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