(CNN) — In the world of sport anything can happen: Tom Brady and the New England Patriots overcoming a 28-3 deficit against the Atlanta Falcons to win Super Bowl LI, Team USA beating Russia during the ‘Miracle on Ice’ or Buster Douglas knocking out the undefeated Mike Tyson.
Despite this, there is still one impossible task sport has yet to crack – a team overcoming an 0-3 deficit in a best-of-seven series in the NBA Playoffs.
In Game 7, the Boston Celtics have a chance to complete basketball’s mission impossible and become the first team to overcome the insurmountable deficit in 151 tries against the Miami Heat.
How to watch
The crucial Game 7 match-up will air on TNT with the game also available to streamed on the TNT app.
Tip-off is at 8:30 p.m. ET on Monday, May 29.
The record for teams looking to climb out of an 0-3 series hole currently stands at 0-150.
Many teams have tried, a few teams have gotten close, but ultimately all have failed in trying to achieve the comeback of all comebacks.
This Boston squad marks the fourth team to ever force a Game 7 following a 0-3 start to a series: the New York Knicks forced a Game 7 in the 1951 NBA Finals against the Rochester Royals, the Denver Nuggets pushed it to the brink in the 1994 Western Conference semis against the Utah Jazz and the Portland Trail Blazers almost made history in the 2003 Western Conference first round against the Dallas Mavericks.
Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart were sure not to let the numbers dissuade the Celtics from their goal of winning a ring.
“I feel very good about tonight. Don’t let us get one,” Smart warned the Heat before Game 4.
Teammate Jaylen Brown issued a similar line, adding, “Don’t let us get one. Don’t let us get tonight.”
These statements will go down in basketball history if the Celtics can win Game 7, but as is the cruel nature of sport, all will be forgotten if the Heat manage to seal the series.
“We have got some guys that don’t quit. We got some guys that have had a long road to get to this point,” said Heat star Jimmy Butler after Game 6. “So why give up now, you know? This is the stage that we are on. The stage is set. This is when the lights are the brightest, and my guys are going to show up.”
How we got here
Miami had to come through the Play-In tournament as the No. 8 seed but has not let its underdog status have any bearing on its impressive playoff run so far.
Erik Spoelstra’s team took down Giannis Antetokounmpo and the No. 1-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the first round, before winning a war of attrition against the Knicks in the Eastern Conference semis.
Despite Boston’s impressive regular season record, the No. 2 seed has struggled throughout the postseason. It took the Celtics six games to get past the Atlanta Hawks and another seven to get through the Philadelphia 76ers.
This brought the Heat and the Celtics together in the Eastern Conference Finals. The series has been an incredible display of drama and tension with the momentum ebbing and flowing throughout.
The Heat raced to a 3-0 lead in the series thanks to incredible performances by Butler and the Miami supporting cast.
Butler has been one of the stars of the NBA postseason and continued this form during the early games of the series against the Celtics.
Missing Tyler Herro through injury meant that head coach Erik Spoelstra had to seek other alternatives to support his star man. Up stepped Gabe Vincent and Caleb Martin – who have come up big in clutch time and throughout the series.
However, the Celtics won Game 4 and Game 5 in comfortable fashion with Jayson Tatum showing his brilliance in the win-or-go-home games. Back-to-back blowouts meant that Boston took the series back to Miami for Game 6 – the most crucial game of the series so far.
Buoyed by their home crowd support, it looked like the Heat had finally got their momentum back and had enough in the tank to become Eastern Conference champions.
The Heat held a one-point advantage with just three seconds left on the clock, but with the ball in Boston’s hands, it was far from over. As Marcus Smart attempted to splash home a game-winning three, the ball bounced off the rim and Derrick White scored a buzzer-beating putback to edge the game for the Celtics.
“It felt good. Everybody was asking me, ‘Did you get it off?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, I think so,’ but it was so close, you never know,” White told reporters afterwards. “We’re just happy we won. However, we got to get it done, we got it done, and now it’s on to Game 7.”
All eyes are now on Game 7 with the Celtics looking to write their name in sporting history, and the Heat hoping they aren’t on the receiving end of one of the greatest comebacks in sport history.
“We just have to understand why we’re still alive. The mindset doesn’t shift. Just can’t relax,” said Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla after Game 6.
Heat coach Spoelstra added: “These are emotional games and things can swing in that Game 7. The pressure can go back and forth in Game 7s quite a bit. We’re not going anywhere.”
Let the battle commence.
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