This year's Eastern Conference finals already have made history, with the Celtics becoming just the fourth team in 151 chances to rally from a 3-0 deficit to force a Game 7 (8:30 p.m. ET on TNT). That hadn't happened since the Portland Trail Blazers won Games 4-6 against the Dallas Mavericks in 2003 -- a span of 82 consecutive series.
Of those four teams to reach Game 7, Boston is the best positioned to complete the unprecedented comeback by virtue of hosting it. Yet if we've learned anything from the first six games of the series, culminating in Celtics guard Derrick White's improbable tip-in a mere fraction of a second before the Game 6 buzzer in Miami, it's to expect the unexpected.
Let's take a look back at the factors that have contributed to the historic swing between the first three games of the series, all Heat wins, and the three consecutive Celtics victories to tie the series. And let's also consider how those elements could play out in Game 7.
Shot quality vs. shot volume
This series has been an extreme version of the NBA's "make-or-miss league" identity. That's funny to say after a Game 6 that Boston won with its lowest 3-point percentage all season (20%), making the Celtics just the second team across the 2022-23 regular season and playoffs to win with such poor 3-point shooting in a game in which the opponents shot better than 40% beyond the arc, according to ESPN's Tim Bontemps.
Still, even Game 6 was clearly a triumph of shot-making.