When the NBA and NHL began their respective postseasons, Boston was predicted to regain its status as Titletown USA as the second-seeded Celtics and top-seeded Bruins were both favored to emerge as league champions. That did not happen, as the Bruins choked in the first round of the playoffs and the Celtics did the same thing in the Eastern Conference Finals, both losing in Game 7s to eighth-seeded teams from south Florida that barely managed to qualify for the postseason.
Following Boston — which took home 12 championships in 17 years but has gone title-less since Tom Brady left town — bowing out, Miami emerged as a new potential Titletown, as the Panthers (who knocked out the Bruins) and Heat (who knocked out the Celtics) were both able to advance to the championship rounds in their respective sports.
This year was the 10th time that two teams from one market have played in the Stanley Cup and NBA Finals in the same year, but one city had never had its hockey and basketball teams win in the same year before this playoff season. That stat won’t change, as the Heat were eliminated from contention on Monday night by the Nuggets in Denver and the Panthers were rubbed out by the Golden Knights in Las Vegas last night in a 9-3 game that wasn’t even that close.
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It’s a difficult blow for South Florida sports fans, but their teams made it much farther than they should have based on the odds. Led by playoff All-Stars Matthew Tkachuk and Jimmy Butler, the Panthers and Heat got as far as they could with the talent they had before both ultimately folding in Game 5 to teams with more skill and more depth. Despite the championship losses, the Panthers and Heat have nothing to hang their heads about.