(CNN) — The Miami Heat eliminated the Boston Celtics in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals on Monday, winning a deciding Game 7 103-84 to advance to the NBA Finals against the Denver Nuggets.
The Heat’s victory kept the proud Celtics franchise from becoming the first NBA team to come back to a seven-game winning streak after losing the first three games.
Seeded eighth, Miami has had to make it through the playoff tournament, but so far they haven’t let their underdog status affect their impressive playoff run.
Against Boston on Monday, Miami forward Jimmy Butler led with 28 points, while forward Caleb Martin had 26 points and 10 rebounds.
Boston shot a freezing 39% shooting from the field as a team, and neither Celtic managed to score 20 points in the game.
Many teams have tried, some have come close, but in the end all have failed to make the comeback of all comebacks, scoring 0 out of 151 attempts.
Most of the teams that lost 0-3 didn’t even get that far.
The New York Knicks forced a Game 7 in the 1951 NBA Finals against the Rochester Royals, the Denver Nuggets came to the brink in the 1994 Western Conference Semifinals against the Utah Jazz, and the Portland Trail Blazers nearly did history. the 2003 Western Conference against the Dallas Mavericks.
The Heat, who have won three NBA titles, most recently in 2013, will face the top-seeded Nuggets on Thursday in Denver.
The Nuggets haven’t played in a week after sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals on Monday.
How we got here
Erik Spoelstra’s team knocked out Giannis Antetokounmpo and the No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks in the first round before winning a war of attrition against the Knicks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Despite Boston’s impressive regular season record, the no. 2 struggled during the postseason. The Celtics needed six games to overcome the seventh seed Atlanta Hawks and seven more to overcome the Philadelphia 76ers.
This led to a matchup between the Heat and the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. The series was an incredible display of drama and tension, with comings and goings at all times.
The Heat took a 3-0 series lead on amazing performances from Butler and the Miami supporting cast.
Butler was one of the stars of the NBA postseason and continued in that form during the early games of the series against the Celtics.
Tyler Herro’s injured absence has forced coach Erik Spoelstra to look for other alternatives to prop up his star. Thus, Gabe Vincent and Martin gave stature in decisive moments and throughout the entire series.
However, the Celtics won Games 4 and 5 handily, with Jayson Tatum displaying his brilliance in win-or-go games. The back-to-back losses moved Boston to Miami for Game 6, the most decisive of the series to date.
Buoyed by the support of the home crowd, it appeared that the Heat had finally regained momentum and had enough energy to become Eastern Conference champions.
The Heat led by one point with three seconds left, but with the ball in Boston’s hands it was far from over. As Marcus Smart attempted to hit the game-winning triple, the ball bounced off the basket and Derrick White hit a field goal to give the Celtics the game.
“It felt good. Everyone was like, ‘Did you get that?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, I think so,’ but he’s been so close you never know,” White told reporters. “We’re happy to have won. But we had to do it, we did it and now we’re going to race 7”.
Unfortunately for the Celtics, the hill in Game 7 was again too steep to climb.
— CNN’s Steve Almasy and Kevin Dotson contributed to this report.