Boston Celtics’ star player, Jayson Tatum, suffered a devastating ankle injury in the opening moments of Game 7 against the Miami Heat. The injury proved to be a turning point in the game as the Celtics succumbed to a 103-84 loss, granting the Heat a ticket to the NBA Finals.
Despite valiantly playing 42 minutes, Tatum struggled to find his rhythm and expressed his frustration with the injury during the post-game interview. “I felt like a mere shadow of myself,” Tatum revealed. “My movement was severely limited, and it was incredibly frustrating to have it happen on the first play.”
As the game progressed, Tatum’s mobility deteriorated further, hindering his ability to contribute effectively. The Heat capitalized on this weakness, stifling the Celtics’ supporting cast and forcing them into an imbalanced offensive strategy. Throughout the second half, Boston often found themselves playing with a numerical disadvantage, leaving Tatum isolated in the corner without the ability to penetrate the defense.
To compound their troubles, the Celtics endured a dismal shooting performance from beyond the arc. They began the game by missing their first ten three-point attempts in the opening quarter, marking the first time this season that the team failed to convert a single three-pointer in the first quarter. Ultimately, Boston finished the game shooting a disappointing 9-for-42 from deep, echoing their poor three-point showing in Game 6 where they went 7-for-35.
Meanwhile, the Miami Heat found their rhythm from long range, shooting an impressive 14-of-28 on three-pointers. Led by Jimmy Butler’s 28 points and Caleb Martin’s stellar offensive display with 26 points, including crucial momentum-shifting shots, the Heat secured their return to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2020.
As the offseason looms for the Celtics, uncertainties and tough decisions lie ahead. Jaylen Brown’s eligibility for a supermax contract extension, following his second-team All-NBA selection, poses a significant financial dilemma for Boston. However, Brown’s eight turnovers in Game 7 served as a reminder of his limitations despite his exceptional shooting prowess.
Boston faces a myriad of unanswered questions in the coming months, while the Miami Heat, led by Butler and Martin, prepare to contend for an NBA championship against the Western Conference champion Denver Nuggets.