Boston guard Marcus Smart celebrates after the Celtics beat the Heat 104-103 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday in Miami. AP Photo/Michael Laughlin

MIAMI — It’s coming back to Boston.

Somehow, some way, after Derrick White’s buzzer-beating tip-in won an epic Game 6, the Celtics have responded to a 3-0 series deficit in the Eastern Conference Finals to force a Game 7 on Monday night at TD Garden, where history can be made.

No team in NBA history has won a best-of-seven series from a 3-0 hole. One-hundred fifty teams have failed. The Celtics are only the fourth to force a Game 7. Not only can they become the first, they would advance to the NBA Finals for the second consecutive season in doing so.

Monday night – on Memorial Day, no less – at the Garden promises to be one of the craziest home environments the Celtics have experienced in recent memory.

“I’ve never been so excited to go back to Boston in my life, and I cannot wait to see all the fans on Monday because it’s going to be fun,” Jayson Tatum said.

The Celtics have been unable to avoid the comparisons to the 2004 Red Sox, who became the first team in baseball history to overcome the same deficit in the ALCS against the Yankees. It started before they even won a game in this series. But the comparisons, as forced as they seemed, are real now.


Could there be a 2004 reunion at the Garden on Monday? Johnny Damon, a member of the 2004 Red Sox team, was at Game 6 in Miami and tweeted after the Celtics’ win, “Might need to fly up to Boston.” David Ortiz has been a staple at Celtics’ playoff games, and Al Horford – a friend of Ortiz’s – was asked if he’s give him a call to be there on Monday.

“That’d be great,” Horford said. “You know at this point, this is special for Boston and Boston sports. …

“I can’t wait. I can’t wait. It’s gonna be electric from before, throughout, after. So I’m just really excited to have that opportunity.”

The Celtics fan base was well-represented in Miami. There were noticeably more C’s fans in the building for Game 6 and than Games 3 and 4, and they made their presence known throughout the night. There were several loud “Let’s go Celtics!” chants during the fourth quarter. After the win, a large crowd of Celtics fans made their way to TNT’s “Inside the NBA” set at the Kaseya Center for the show.

During Celtics Coach Joe Mazzulla’s press conference, C’s fans were still loud as they exited the arena.

Now imagine what Monday will be like?


Jaylen Brown famously called out the fans before Game 7 against the 76ers, and they responded. The Celtics star can’t wait for what’s in store on Monday.

“Man, I can only imagine,” Brown said. “I know these fans, you can hear them here in Miami, so I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like for Game 7. It’s going to be huge. The best two words in sports is ‘Game 7,’ and our home crowd, I know they’re going to bring the energy, so I’m excited.”

Still, the Celtics aren’t taking anything for granted.

They know they got away with one on Saturday night. They produced their worst 3-point performance of the season. Their defense stepped up again, but they blew another double-digit fourth quarter lead to Jimmy Butler and the Heat. If Marcus Smart’s missed shot bounced the other way and White wasn’t there for the tip-in, their season would be over right now.

The Celtics certainly celebrated the win, one of the most legendary endings in franchise history. But they know they haven’t won anything yet. They know Saturday doesn’t matter if they don’t complete the job and win Game 7.

“We all talked about it,” Tatum said. “We’re all aware it’s not time to celebrate. We didn’t accomplish anything. We won a big game that we had to win in incredible fashion. We’re proud of the way we played, proud of the way we figured it out.


“But the job is far from finished. (The Heat) is a great team, really well-coached team, and we’ve got to be ready on Monday. It’s not over. Both teams want this extremely – like to the highest degree. They want it. We want it. The guys are competing on both ends, giving everything they have.”

Brown echoed that sentiment, but noted the momentum that Game 6 can give them for Monday.

“It means nothing if we come and lay an egg on our home floor,” Brown said. “Still focused, but excited that we came here and did what we said we was going to do. …

“It gives you a supreme boost in confidence, man,” he added on the Game 6 boost. “It doesn’t get too much worse than being down 0-3. We feel like we’ve been to hell and back. We feel like we can face any adversity that gets thrown at us in the duration of the game or the duration of the season or in the postseason. It all means nothing if we don’t come out and give our best effort on our home floor on Monday night.”

Comments are no longer available on this story