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NBA Game Notes (May 29, 2023)
Here are the NBA game notes for games that were played on May 29, 2023.
Can’t Beat the Heat
The Miami Heat advanced to the NBA Finals in stunning fashion, blowing out the Boston Celtics 103-84 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Heat will face off against the Denver Nuggets in Game 1 of the Finals on Thursday.
This was the 27th Game 7 in NBA Conference Finals history. It’s just the 10th time the road team has won such a game, and no road team has done so with a larger margin of victory:
19 — Miami Heat at Boston Celtics (May 29, 2023)
16 — New York Knicks at Boston Celtics (April 29, 1973)
14 — Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics (May 23, 1982)
The Heat became just the second No. 8 seed in NBA history to reach the Finals, joining the 1999 New York Knicks. Those Knicks lost to the San Antonio Spurs in five games, giving the Spurs their first NBA title.
With a regular season record of 44-38 (.537), the Heat have the worst winning percentage for an NBA finalist since the 1980-81 Houston Rockets (40-42, .488). They are the 11th team to reach the NBA Finals with a winning percentage lower than .550. Only one of those previous 10 teams has won a championship (1977-78 Washington Bullets).
The Heat had a point differential of –26 during the regular season. They are just the third team to advance to the NBA Finals after posting a negative point differential in the regular season, joining the 1956-57 St. Louis Hawks (–22) and 1958-59 Minneapolis Lakers (–96). Neither of those teams won the title.
The Heat finished last in the league in scoring during the regular season (109.5 PPG). They became just the third team to reach the NBA Finals after finishing last in scoring, joining the 1955-56 Fort Wayne Pistons and 1963-64 San Francisco Warriors. Both of those teams lost 4-1 in the Finals.
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Eastern Conference Finals MVP Jimmy Butler scored a game-high 28 points to lead the Heat. He also contributed seven rebounds, six assists, and three steals. Butler averaged 24.7 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 6.1 APG, and 2.6 SPG in the conference finals.
Teammate Caleb Martin scored a playoff career-high 26 points and grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds (tied). Martin shot 11-16 from the field, including 4-6 from 3-point range. For the series, Martin averaged 19.3 PPG on 60/49/88 shooting splits.
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra advanced to the NBA Finals for the sixth time, tied for the fourth-most such appearances in NBA history:
13 — Phil Jackson
11 — Red Auerbach
9 — Pat Riley
6 — John Kundla
6 — Gregg Popovich
6 — Steve Kerr
6 — Erik Spoelstra
The Celtics’ Jaylen Brown scored a team-high 19 points in the loss, but committed a career-high eight turnovers (regular season included). Since the NBA began tracking turnovers in 1977-78, only one player has recorded more turnovers in a Game 7:
9 — Donovan Mitchell (Sep. 1, 2020)
8 — Shawn Kemp (May 17, 1997)
8 — LeBron James (May 27, 2018)
8 — Joel Embiid (June 20, 2021)
8 — Jaylen Brown (May 29, 2023)
Brown made just eight of his 23 attempts from the floor (34.8%), missing eight of his nine 3-pointers. For the series, Brown shot a meager 7-43 from 3-point range (16.3%).
The second member of the Celtics’ dynamic duo, Jayson Tatum, scored 14 points and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds, although he was clearly hobbled by a turned ankle suffered on the game’s opening possession. Like Brown, Tatum struggled with his 3-point shot in the series, hitting just 11 of his 47 attempts from long range (23.4%).
The Celtics became the fourth team in NBA history to extend a postseason series to seven games after losing each of the first three games:
New York Knicks (1951 NBA Finals)
Denver Nuggets (1994 Conference Semifinals)
Portland Trail Blazers (2003 First Round)
Boston Celtics (2023 Conference Finals)
All four of those teams lost Game 7, but the Celtics were the first to do so at home.