The Miami Heat shock everybody as they walk into Boston and take both, games one and two, to head back to Miami with a chance to close the series out and head to the NBA Finals.
Before we dive into the negatives, let’s remember it’s first to four. The series isn’t over and while it doesn’t look like it right now, the Boston Celtics are the better team.
They’ve had a double digit lead in both games, and lost it the same way in both games.
There’s three things that have gone wrong so far in this series.
Joe has been a discussion among Celtics fans all season long, and it’s a pretty even split.
I think it’s a rather easy discussion, Joe was not a head coach in waiting. He was not the lead assistant. He was simply not ready to be a full time head coach, and he wouldn’t have been, had the Celtics not lost three coaches right before seasons start.
So as it’s a unique situation, and tough to put full blame on a guy who isn’t supposed to be in this situation, you can still critique and criticize his coaching.
In my breakdown article, I wrote about how Erik Spoelstra would outcoach Mazzulla, but this isn’t even that.
Joe is making the simplest of mistakes that anybody on their couch can fix. Letting the one guy on the Heat who can beat you, beat you is the start.
The Celtics scheme is letting Jimmy Butler pick whatever mismatch he wants, they’re soft switching and not even fighting to get over the pick.
Jimmy is just going at whatever defender he wants to and the Celtics are letting him.
That’s how the Heat beat the Bucks, Mike Budenholzer made zero adjustments and let Jimmy do whatever he wanted, and it got him fired. He’s a champion head coach and it got him fired. Joe is a rookie.
Joe needs to think about doubling Jimmy in the fourth and making somebody else beat you, it’s that simple.
Another Joe special that has had the Celtics fan base split all season. Live and die by the three.
It worked for most of the regular season as the Celtics were a top three shooting team all season, but it was quite easy to see that when they didn’t hit threes, they didn’t have much else to depend on.
Now, shooting 32% for the series and you’re down 2-0. That’s what happens when you let analytics run the game. It’s the playoffs, let Jayson Tatum cook in the midrange. Get downhill.
Al Horford who’s been one of the best shooters all season long shooting 45% throughout the 82, has struggled mightily in the playoffs shooting 29%.
Both Grant Williams and Sam Hauser who are shooting above 40% on the season, have been getting sporty minutes in the playoffs limiting the shooting you do have and depending on the main guys to bring it.
Miami was on fire from game one, outscoring the Celtics by 18 while shooting 51% from three.
They were just 35% from three tonight, but the Celtics were even worse at 29% and that was part of the problem.
With that being said they’ll fall eventually, and when they do, the Celtics are hard to beat.
The Stars In Crunch Time
Jimmy Butler, like usual, has shined this series, especially in the fourth and crunch time.
Averaging 31 for the series and taking over the crunch time to will his team back from double digit deficits in both games.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown on the other hand have been the opposite. Between the both of them they had one field goal in the fourth im game two. Tatum has had zero field goals in both fourth quarters to start the series.
Stars have to be stars when it matters, Jimmy has, the Jays have not.
While Tatum has arguably been the best player this series his fourth quarter woes are in big part why the Celtics are fighting for their season Sunday.
And while Tatum has struggled in the fourth, Jaylen has just struggled.
He’s having his worst series he’s ever had as a star, averaging 19 points on 39/15/50 shooting splits.
Outside of inefficient offense his decision making has been bad, he looks surprised almost. His effort on the boards has been awful also.
With all that being said, I have full confidence that both of them will pick it up and help the Celtics make it a series.
Game Three is next up.
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