17-year NBA veteran says Miami Heat culture will be ‘eviscerated’ if they lose Game 7

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Retired 17-year NBA veteran and current Phoenix Suns color analyst Eddie Johnson issued a warning towards the Miami Heat and Erik Spoelstra ahead of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics.

Johnson said that Spoelstra and Miami’s culture will be “eviscerated” by the media if the team blows a 3-0 series lead by losing in Game 7.

The 64-year-old also made sure to call out Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo for their performances in the team’s Game 6 loss on Saturday.

While the Heat have defied the odds to make the Eastern Conference Finals as a No. 8 seed, the team is in danger of being on the wrong side of history on Monday night.

No team in the history of the NBA has ever come back to win a series after being down 3-0, but the Celtics now have a chance to do so against Miami at TD Garden.

In the last two postseasons, Boston has played in three Game 7s, winning all three. The team beat the Milwaukee Bucks and the Heat in the 2021-22 campaign and followed that up by beating the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 7 of the second round of the playoffs this season.

There’s no doubt that Spoelstra is one of the game’s best coaches, leading the Heat to the Eastern Conference Finals in three of the last four seasons and making the NBA Finals once, but losing on Monday would complete a truly epic collapse by the franchise.

There were only three teams in NBA history that had even forced a Game 7 after trailing 3-0 in a series prior to Boston’s win on Saturday night in Miami.

The New York Knicks did it in 1951. The Denver Nuggets forced a Game 7 in 1994, and the Portland Trail Blazers did it as well in 2003. However, none of those teams went on to win their Game 7 matchups.

The Heat are hoping that will be the case for Boston as they look to avoid an embarrassing collapse. The Heat did win Games 1 and 2 of this series in Boston, so they have shown an ability to win on the road.

Game 7 is scheduled to tip off at 8:30 p.m. EST from TD Garden.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.