Ask any basketball fan, even if they’re not supporters of the Boston Celtics or the Miami Heat, and they would say that the NBA Playoffs is the best time of the year—as the two Eastern Conference finalists have provided a show in their postseason matchup that is now going to a do-or-die Game 7.
If it’s Heat fans, however, it’s also possible that they would stonewall you because they’re too deflated, or they will explode because they’re too angry. On Sunday’s Game 6 in Miami, the Heat had a one-point lead with three seconds left in the game, then Boston guard Marcus Smart got the inbound pass, took a shot, and missed. It should have been jubilation for Florida.
But in the next nanosecond, Derrick White, the inbounder, swooped in to make a putback and win the game. Heat forward Max Strus, tasked to guard White during the inbound, was left one step behind in the play that dealt them the loss.
This only gave life to one of the oldest clichés in basketball: “The man inbounding the ball is the most dangerous player on the floor.”
So, did the Heat make the wrong call? Coach Erik Spoelstra doesn’t think so.
“Max [Strus] did the right thing, making that ball go anywhere but Jayson Tatum,” said Spoelstra, pointing out that the All-NBA First Teamer Tatum, not White, was the most dangerous Celtic on the floor that time.
Coach Spo was confident in how they executed their last defensive possession.
“I thought we had a lot of things covered on that play, but sometimes things just don’t break your way. I don’t think there’s any regrets on that.”
The breaks of the game didn’t go their way in that last play, the Fil-Am coach believes.
“[If] that thing just bounced a different way, that’s the only place it could have bounced to hurt us.”
Twitter superstar and NBA content creator Rob Perez, however, had a different opinion—and used game tape to prove it.
Spoelstra and the eighth-seeded Heat, nonetheless, are fired up to get to Game 7.
“There’s been nothing easy about this season for our group, so we just have to do it the hard way,” he said.
“We wish we could this tip thing off right now. Right now, let’s play another 48 minutes, but we’ll wait 48 hours and do this thing in Boston,” Spoelstra added.