One of the all-time great escapes in Boston Celtics history, the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals’s Game 7 between Boston and the Miami Heat, was an all-time classic that almost saw the Celtics blow a 13-point lead in the final minutes. The Cs were able to escape following a missed shot from Jimmy Butler.
The Celtics ultimately won 100-96, sending them to their first NBA Finals since 2010. Boston also got revenge on the Heat for beating them in the 2020 Eastern Conference Finals.
Some background heading into the game: the Celtics lost Game 6 at home, after winning Game 5 in Miami and there was a portion of Celtics fans that did not think the Cs would be able to recover and win Game 7 on the road.
Ultimately, it set the stage for a classic dogfight.
Boston controlled much of Game 7 and relied on its strong playoff performers. Jayson Tatum finished with 26 points, and Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown each had 24 points. The Celtics were able to avoid a late push from the Heat as they punched their ticket to the NBA Finals. Now, let’s dive into the main categories of our rewatch series.
Biggest moment of the game: Jimmy Butler’s missed game-winner
This is the first time in our rewatch series that the biggest play does not involve a Celtics player. It was hard to find a Boston Celtics play that was worthy of being highlighted, and this play from Butler ultimately decided the game. When Butler crossed half-court with the Heat trailing by two points and under 30 seconds to play, every Celtics fan held their breath.
Butler rose for the shot over Al Horford and clanked it off the rim leading to a huge rebound from Horford. The missed shot from Butler decided the game, and it led to discussions about whether it was the right shot selection. The Celtics took a sigh of relief as they were heading to the Finals.
Star of the game: Jayson Tatum
Tatum’s 2022 postseason run was amazing, and Game 7 against the Heat was a continuation of that. The Boston Celtics forward finished with 26 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, two blocks, and a steal. Tatum continued his strong play in the clutch as he hit a tough shot over Butler in the final minutes.
It’s a shame that the Celtics failed to win the title because Tatum was on pace to have one of the greatest postseason runs of all time. It would have been arguably the greatest postseason run for a player’s first championship.
Winners of the game: Jayson Tatum/Marcus Smart/Jaylen Brown
Besides Tatum, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown are winners in this game. Smart and Brown gave the Boston Celtics exactly what they needed as they each had 24 points. The C’s big three playing at a high level was everything Boston could have hoped for in this one.
The performances from the trio led to an iconic picture in the postseason celebration. Once again, it’s a shame that this group did not win a ring.
Losers of the game: Jimmy Butler and Payton Pritchard
Jimmy Butler is a loser in this one because his 35 points were overshadowed by his missed game-winner. Butler would have had a memorable performance had that shot gone in. Pritchard is a loser for the Boston Celtics because he only played two minutes. Overall, it was hard to find losers in this one because it was an exceptionally played game.
Miami Heat-Boston Celtics rivalry solidified in recent years
The impact of this game is that it shows how great the Celtics/Heat rivalry has been in recent years. The Boston Celtics have played the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals in three of the last four years, and they have all been epic matchups. Miami does have the upper hand as they are 2-1 in those series, which is a tough pill for Celtics fans to swallow.