Why Stephen A. Smith thinks Heat are 'in a world of trouble' vs. Celtics originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
In just a few days, the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals have transformed from a likely sweep to all of a sudden being a very compelling series.
The Boston Celtics lost the first three games of the series to the Miami Heat, including an embarrassing Game 3 loss on the road. But instead of quitting, the C's turned up the pressure on the Heat by winning the next two games, the last of which came Thursday night in an impressive 110-97 victory in Game 5 at TD Garden.
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The series now goes back to Miami, where the Heat have lost four of their last six playoff games against the Celtics going back to last season's conference finals.
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How much pressure is on the Heat to find a way to end this series in front of their home fans Saturday night? All of it, according to ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.
"They are in a world of trouble," Smith said Friday morning on ESPN show "Get Up!" "Game 6 is an absolute must win. The pressure is all on the Miami Heat when you consider the fact that 150 teams have tried and all have failed to overcome an 0-3 deficit.
"For Miami to be in a position where they're up 3-0 -- clearly when it was against a better Boston team top-to-bottom talent wise -- you put yourself in that position and you go to South Beach tomorrow night and you lose that game and have to come back and face Jayson Tatum in a Game 7 in Boston? Good luck with that. The Miami Heat have to win Game 6 tomorrow night in South Beach."
There are a couple troubling trends for the Heat.
The Celtics have won four consecutive road elimination games, including Game 7 of the conference finals in Miami last season. Boston also has won six of its last seven Game 7s, including a 4-1 home record in Game 7s during that span. Sure, the Celtics have struggled at home in the playoffs over the last two years with an 11-11 record, but when it's a must-win scenario, they typically rise to the challenge. This should concern Miami.
In fairness, the Heat still have control of the series and the homecourt advantage. But they are one more loss away from being in a position where they could make history in one of the worst ways possible for an NBA team.