Led by Jimmy Butler and Caleb Martin, who scored 28 and 26 points, respectively, Miami won Game 7 103-84 to eliminate the Boston Celtics. The series wasn't short on theatrics as the Heat jumped out to a 3-0 lead before fumbling the opportunity to sweep and allowing the Celtics to force a Game 7.
But Miami put together a herculean effort when it needed it most to put away Boston. There are only three other instances of an NBA team leading 3-0 in a series and playing in a Game 7. With the win, the Heat avoided being the first to lose the series.
The Heat's road to facing the Denver Nuggets for the Larry O'Brien Trophy was a tough one. After their first-round play-in loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the 8-seed Heat won nine of their next 12 games, defeating the No. 9 seed Chicago Bulls, No. 1 Milwaukee Bucks and No. 5 New York Knicks.
These numbers further highlight Miami's unlikely journey to the NBA Finals:
150-1: Entering the playoffs, Miami's odds to win the NBA title were 150-1, the longest of any team to reach the NBA Finals since the 1976 ABA/NBA merger, according to SportsOddsHistory.com. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the previous longest title odds were 100-1 for the 1981 Houston Rockets.
1: Since the play-in tournament was introduced in 2021, Miami is the first team to reach the Finals after playing in the tournament.
2: The Heat are just the second 8-seed to reach the Finals, joining the 1999 Knicks.
3: The Heat are the third team in the past 35 seasons to reach the NBA Finals despite being underdogs in each of their first three playoff series, joining the 1995 Rockets and 1999 Knicks, per SportsOddsHistory.com.
5: Miami ended the regular season at 44-38 (.537) and became the fifth team to defeat the top two teams in winning percentage (Bucks, .707; Celtics, .695) prior to the Finals. The 2010 Celtics, 2002 Lakers, 1995 Rockets and 1977 Portland Trail Blazers are the other squads that previously accomplished the feat.
5: Kevin Love has been to the NBA playoffs five times and reached the NBA Finals each time.
.537: The Heat's .537 winning percentage in the regular season is the lowest for a team that reached the Finals since the 1981 Rockets.
7: This is the Heat's seventh Finals appearance since 2000, trailing only the Lakers, who lead the NBA with eight.
Seven undrafted players have played this postseason for the Heat. That is the most undrafted players to play in a postseason for a team to appear in the Finals in the modern draft era (since 1966-67).
151: Teams that build a 3-0 lead in an NBA playoff series are now 151-0 in those series.
19: Heat executive Pat Riley is going to his 19th NBA Finals as a player, coach or front office member.
The Heat and Miami celebrated the team's huge win:
HEAT IN 7!— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) May 30, 2023
The analytic they won't give you - the Miami HEAT are 100% Eastern Conference Champions. pic.twitter.com/ID5AyfJmKZ— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) May 30, 2023
🗣️🗣️🗣️🗣️— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) May 30, 2023
Martin is the first player in Heat history to record 100 points, 60% shooting from the field and 45% on 3-pointers in a single playoff series. NBA Twitter gave him his props.
Jimmy Butler & Caleb Martin are the 2nd duo in Heat franchise history to each score 25 points in a series clinching win.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 30, 2023
They join LeBron James & Chris Bosh in 2014 vs Pacers as the only pairs to accomplish the feat in franchise history. pic.twitter.com/wIByiGgrIV
Caleb Martin HOOPIN !!!!🔥— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) May 30, 2023
TURN ME UP TWIN @Calebmartin14 😤😤— PJ Washington (@PJWashington) May 30, 2023
Caleb Martin tonight:— StatMuse (@statmuse) May 30, 2023
He had zero 25-point games this season... he had 2 this series. pic.twitter.com/x0LME3F8tF
ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this story.