Heat's Max Strus Says Overturned 3-Pointer 'Changed the Game and Momentum' of Game 7

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIMay 31, 2022

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 29: Max Strus #31 of the Miami Heat drives to the basket against Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics during the first quarter in Game Seven of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals at FTX Arena on May 29, 2022 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Frustrations over Max Strus' overturned three-pointer continued to mount for the Miami Heat in the aftermath following their 100-96 loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Easter Conference Finals.

Strus spoke with reporters about it Tuesday and provided his thoughts:

Brendan Tobin @Brendan_Tobin

Max Strus asked about overturned three pointer: Thank you for pissing me off again. I don't know how that was called back after seeing the video. I'm obviously not happy about it. It definitely changed the game and the momentum. It is what it is. Not happy about it. <a href="https://t.co/WghGYrAU2i">pic.twitter.com/WghGYrAU2i</a>

"Thank you for pissing me off again," Strus said with a smile. "But yeah, I don’t know how that was called that after I've seen the video." He added:

"...They say they have that rule to take human error out of the game. And then the human error makes an error on the video. So, I don't know. But hopefully I don’t get fined.
"But yeah, I’m obviously not happy about it. But it is what it is at this point. I guess we can't really do anything. But it definitely changed the game and the momentum.
"I think it went from a six-point game to an 11-point game with no time coming off the clock. It is what it is, I guess is the best I can put it. I'm not happy about it, but I guess we've just got to move on."

ESPN's Nick Friedell explained what went down.

"The call in question came with 11:04 remaining in the third quarter, when Heat guard Max Strus knocked down a three-pointer deep in the corner that cut the Celtics' lead, which had been as many as 17 earlier in the first half, to 56-54.
"After several minutes of game action—during which the Celtics put together another run of their own—the call was overturned by the NBA replay center in Secaucus, New Jersey."

Strus was ultimately called out-of-bounds, but it appeared his left heel hovered over the line without touching it.

NBA Official @NBAOfficial

Official Review (Kirkland): if Strus' made field goal was a 2 or 3-point field goal in Q3 of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BOSatMIA?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BOSatMIA</a>. Ruling: Overturned to no basket as Strus alighted from out of bounds on his shot attempt. <a href="https://t.co/YHpqzBON5I">pic.twitter.com/YHpqzBON5I</a>

Don Van Natta Jr. @DVNJr

We need a review of the review that erased Max Strus’ 3-pointer. <br><br>A trip to the NBA Finals should not be decided by this. <a href="https://t.co/KqZkQaXgWK">pic.twitter.com/KqZkQaXgWK</a>

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

This Max Strus 3 was overturned after he stepped out of bounds. Celtics won by 4 points.<br><br>Do you agree? 🤔 <a href="https://t.co/UNXH5fVKF8">pic.twitter.com/UNXH5fVKF8</a>

Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald explained why the call could be looked at well after it happened.

Anthony Chiang @Anthony_Chiang

Re: Strus' overturned three-pointer ...<br><br>NBA says that every three-pointer is now reviewed to determine if it's a 3 or a 2. <br><br>Then the Replay Center Official will also review the video to determine "whether the shooter committed a boundary line violation" among other things.

It was a tough decision for the Heat in a four-point loss, and head coach Erik Spoelstra wasn't happy about it either, per Friedell:

"I was in shock. I was asking [assistant coach] [Chris Quinn] about that. The fact that it happened, three to four, five minutes in game time, that does change the context of how you're playing. We were starting to gain some momentum. You feel like it's a seven-, eight-point game and you look up and it's a 13-point game, and there's no other explanation for it other than it's gone back to the league offices. You feel like if it happens like that, it should happen immediately and you can adjust accordingly."

Spoelstra also noted, though, that the Heat didn't lose the game because of the call.

"Look, that's not the reason we lost. We still had plenty of opportunities. We just couldn't get control of the game. A lot of that was Boston. We didn't stop grinding, and we gave ourselves a shot at it at the end. We just couldn't make enough plays during the course of the game. It felt like most of the game we were grinding from an eight-to-10-point deficit."

The Strus three that wasn't came into light postgame because of a near-epic Heat comeback (and Celtic collapse). Miami trailed 98-85 with 3:35 left before going on an 11-0 run to cut the lead to two after a Strus three with 50.7 seconds remaining.

After the Celtics came up empty on their next trip down the floor, the Heat's Jimmy Butler took a transition three that would have given Miami a one-point lead, but it did not fall through. Celtics guard Marcus Smart made two free throws to close out the game and the series.

This was a hard-fought series with many plot twists and notable moments, including the Strus shot. Ultimately, the Celtics are moving on to face the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, which begin on Thursday.