Miami stays loyal to themselves and earns a ticket to Denver in the NBA Finals between the Heat and the Nuggets.

In Game 7 against the Celtics in Boston, The Heat Way triumphs.

Jimmy Butler guaranteed that it will happen. After Miami’s sad loss in Game 6, Erik Spolestra, too, called his team’s shot, saying, “We’re gonna go up there and get it done.” Before Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals even started, the Miami Heat organization reportedly had already reserved a flight from Boston to Denver for the NBA Finals.

All of it appeared to be excessive hubris.

After giving up a 3-0 series lead against the Boston Celtics to force a 3-3 draw, it appeared as though they were grasping at straws.

Most people seemed to think that Miami’s statements and its ability to defeat Boston in Games 4, 5, and 6 were equally hollow, giving rise to the erroneous belief that an eight-seed that was unraveling would return to its very subpar regular-season performance.

Thus, the Miami Heat deserve praise. They were better coached, more resilient, tougher, and ultimately the best team in the Eastern Conference because they always knew who they were.

It turns out that the Heat Way is a very genuine concept, and the Denver Nuggets should definitely take note of this. Culture affects us. Togetherness is not only a meaningless cliché. Greatness also doesn’t necessarily look the way we believe it does, at least not the kind that comes out of Miami.

The Celtics were a more talented and well-rounded squad. But the Heat were the Heat, and Boston couldn’t take it. The Heat are who they are, and they knew it even after most of us believed their luck had run out.

Yes, Jayson Tatum’s rolled ankle in the opening moments of Game 7 was important. However, Miami was the superior team the entire game. They battled harder, made big shots when Boston could not, and handled the talent the Celtics brought their way, largely in the form of Derrick White.

This game wasn’t close either; the Celtics’ season’s potential and their failed comeback were abandoned by a score of 103-84.

Boston played with its food the entire postseason, its smugness a weakness that its talent kept overcoming. It held true in the series versus Atlanta, which dragged on far longer than it ought to have. But Boston won the day. It held true when they faced Philadelphia, where they lost the series 3-2. However, Boston won again.

Miami, though, isn’t Atlanta or Philadelphia. It turned out that playing about with them was detrimental to the Celtics’ season.

Jimmy Butler, who is indispensable in the playoffs, is where that fact starts. To date, Joel Embiid hasn’t been: A star. Another illustration of this was his performance in Game 7, which included 28 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and three steals.

Boston should have been aware of the consequences of delaying action up until a 3-0 series deficit.

However, the players surrounding Butler were also significantly better than James Harden or anybody else Boston had faced on their leisurely march to the conference finals. Caleb Martin was outstanding throughout this series, particularly in the decisive game where he scored 26 points, nine of which came in the third quarter when he assisted in stopping a Boston run.

Sometimes it’s challenging to recognize real teams for what they are. But Miami is unique; there is faith, comradery, toughness, Jimmy Butler’s development into a superstar in the playoffs, and players like Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, and Martin consistently playing significant, brave, series-changing minutes.

There is Spoelstra, a master tactician whose contagious confidence helped turn the tide on this.

Miami as a result shocked a Boston squad that had never learned to treat every situation with the seriousness it deserved.

We now go on to the Denver Nuggets, a group that in many ways contrasts Boston in that regard. They are laser-focused, ambitious, and hellbent on not taking any games or opportunities for granted the way Boston did.

The Nuggets have only dropped three games this postseason and swept the Lakers, another team that desired for overachievement like Miami, in the Western Conference Finals. They have Nikola Jokic, arguably the finest player in the competition. They have Jamal Murray, a rising star who has proven to be crucial for taking over games. They are large, deep, and superbly coached in a way that, at least for the time being, the Celtics weren’t.

Denver has a huge number of advantages that should help them win this series.

Without a doubt, Vegas will favor Denver. Most NBA players will do the same. And perhaps with good reason.

But if Miami has shown us anything, it’s that greatness in this game frequently involves much more than what the numbers might suggest.