Marcus Smart takes shot at Miami Heat’s perimeter players during Game 1 of NBA Finals

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Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat really made the Boston Celtics work hard to knock them out of the NBA playoffs, taking them down to the wire of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals before bowing out.

Still, the Celtics may not have the proper respect for the Heat, as evidenced by something guard Marcus Smart said during Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.

The Eastern Conference Finals started out positive for the Heat, as they erased a halftime deficit to take Game 1 118-107.

But the series as a whole was unpredictable and defined by wild swings of momentum from game to game and sometimes even quarter to quarter.

In Game 7, the Heat trailed big early, but they managed to trim their deficit somewhat by halftime. After Boston re-extended its lead somewhat in the third quarter, the Heat came to within two in the final seconds, but it was too little, too late.

A major culprit for Miami was its health or lack thereof. Point guard Kyle Lowry missed the first two contests of the series and was hampered the entire time with a hamstring problem, while Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro didn’t play in Games 4, 5 and 6.

Smart, the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year this season, was a big key to the Celtics’ triumph. He had 24 points, nine rebounds, 12 assists and three steals in their Game 2 blowout win. In Game 7, he posted 24 points, nine rebounds and five assists to help Boston eke its way into the championship series.

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Robert is a native of Santa Monica, Calif. and a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has been an avid NBA fan since he was a little kid in the mid '90s, and during that time he has lived through the Alonzo Mourning, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James era of Heat basketball. He feels strongly that the NBA and sports aren't just entertainment, but also a means for learning life lessons.