The Miami Heat are heading back to the NBA Finals.
Led by Jimmy Butler and Caleb Martin, who scored 28 and 26 points, respectively, in Game 7, Miami knocked off 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 managed to put together a Herculean effort when it needed it most to put away Boston. There are only three other instances of a 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: Miami’s odds to win the NBA title were 150-1 entering the playoffs, which is 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.
.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; 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: Despite the drama of a Game 7, teams that build a 3-0 lead in an NBA playoff series are now 151-0 in those series.
The Heat and Miami celebrated the team’s huge win:
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.
ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this story.