Yet again, the Miami Heat defied their doubters and produced a playoff upset against a more talented team that was favored to defeat them.
They did so on Monday by putting the Boston Celtics to sleep in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, 103-84, before a jacked-up crowd at TD Garden in Massachusetts.
Oftentimes, when Miami scores an upset such as this one, it’s because Jimmy Butler has a big game and put things away in the fourth quarter.
But this time, the star of the game was Caleb Martin, an undrafted forward out of North Carolina State University and the University of Nevada.
He shot 11-of-16 and scored 26 points, making him the first undrafted player in NBA history to have at least 25 points in a Game 7 victory, per OptaSTATS.
Caleb Martin of the @MiamiHEAT is the first undrafted player in NBA history to score 25+ points in a Game 7 victory.
— OptaSTATS (@OptaSTATS) May 30, 2023
Martin is in his fourth pro season, and he started out his NBA career with two pedestrian seasons as a member of the Charlotte Hornets.
In the 2021 offseason, Miami signed him to a two-way contract, and he quickly emerged as a very useful 3-and-D player.
Martin is one of several undrafted players who have turned into gems for the Heat, including Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, and Duncan Robinson.
The team is truly an inspiring story of underdogs and scrappers who are greater than the sum of their parts, and their grit, resolve, and resourcefulness have now earned them a trip to the NBA Finals.
They are fairly big underdogs against the Denver Nuggets, but they’re very used to being underdogs, if not very comfortable in such a role.NEXT: NBA Analyst Highlights The Unique Path Of Kyle Lowry