Celtics vs. Heat, Round 3 Discussion

Who you got?


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reggiecleveland

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TL is like the Gronk draft pick. If there were no health concerns he would not have been available to the Celtics. It's like the early 2000s Red Sox, they have to win a game in this series when Pedro or Lowe isn't pitching.
 

RetractableRoof

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Those that know (i.e. DRs, physical therapists, etc.) - is there reason to think that the flights back and forth are impacting the swelling in TL's knee? Is that a thing?
 

Eddie Jurak

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The last time these teams played was March 30th. The teams basically had the same lineups as now - Celtics had everyone but Rob who was hurt and Miami had everyone. The Celtics took a 5 point lead into the fourth and played a putrid quarter, getting outscored 27-15 and losing the game.

Tatum and Brown combined for 51 points in the game but only 7 in the 4th (on 3 of 13 shooting). Butler and Lowry combined for 47 for the Heat, 14 in the 4th.

The one difference in that game? Grant started and Theis came off the bench. Theis played only 17 minutes but scored 15 points on a perfect 6-6 from the field. I'm not going to say "maybe that is why Ime is starting him," but... maybe Theis can be effective against Miami? In 26 minutes between games 1 and 2, Theis has 10 points (on 5 for 6 shooting), 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and a block.
 
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nighthob

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This game has been an epic stinker from Tatum. Maybe he should have stayed in the locker room?
 

DeadlySplitter

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The only thing stopping them from winning it all this year is themselves. But they might actually cost themselves the chip.
 

Euclis20

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Tatum was awful but the Heat didn't get anything out of Butler, Herro continued to be terrible and while Lowry provided a nice spark, he was really just ok. The real story of the game was Bam. 15-22 for 31 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals and a block. If Bam is the best player in the series going forward, that's bad news for Boston.
 

jablo1312

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Honestly, outside of the 1st Q (when he dominated) I don't remember a lot of Bam "domination" moments. He had a killer and 1 off an offensive rebound to push it to 13 I think. He get a lot of his points off of open dishes and trailing turnover run outs. I don't think I'd overcorrect too much to this performance (if Timelord is unavailable for G4. If he is, then yea just play him).

Obv the turnovers are beyond the biggest issue. It's not as easy as "stop turning the ball over!!!". The stupid passes there really isn't much antidote for (except don't pick up your dribble in the corner if you're single covered) but its pretty clear that Tatum/Brown driving into the zone is going to lead to a decent number of turnovers, they don't have the tightest handle and the Heat defenders have good hands. I'm not sure what the answer is exactly, against the zone it involes passing inside-to-outside, but its going to take a legitimate adjustment not just a "play better" adjustment.

That being said, if they turn the ball over at a normal rate and not a historically awful rate, and shoot normally from 3, they will be in good position to win game 4. We'll see how healthy Jimmy is, but the Heat half court offense is going to go through dry spells vs this Celtics defense. Bad loss, obv, but the series isn't over.
 

SemperFidelisSox

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It’s going to come down to health. It always does. The C’s are likely up 2-1 or even 3-0 with Horford, Williams and Smart playing all three games.
 

Eddie Jurak

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And there it is. The Celtic fans who showed up tonight deserved better than a team that didn't.

If the Celtics drop this series, this game, in which they once again took the Garden floor not ready to play basketball, will stand out, even beyond taking the second half off in game 1. After the first half they played, they had no business whatsoever winning this game, but they received a gift from the basketball gods, in the form of Jimmy Butler being off his game in the first half and unable to play in the second because of a knee injury. A Celtics team that was focused and on its game would have won this - should have won this - but tonight's Celtics never had a shot because even once they started to try they played as sloppy a game as they have all season long.

Reason 1 why they lost: they got blasted 39-18 in the first quarter. Almost as bad as the terrible 39-14 shellacking that they gave up in the third quarter of game 1. But that game was on the road. Without Marcus Smart and Al Horford. AFter a quick turnaround from the Milwaukee series. Today's excuse for a first quarter no show in front of the home fans is, what, exactly? I'm sure there will be plenty of excuses at the ready.

Even in the second quarter, the Celtics were unable to get things going for nearly 10 minutes, eventually falling behind by as much as 26. At one point in the quarter, the Celtics did tighten up their defense, but they could not score. Then they started getting baskets but their defense lapsed. With ~2 minutes left, down by 25, they finally managed to get their all heads competely out of their asses at the same time and closed out the quarter on a 10-0 run.

That meant they entered the half down by only 15 and had at least an outside shot to win this game. And then the outside shot became a real shot, as it was announced that Jimmy Butler was going to miss the second half due to knee inflammation. The Heat had to play 3 guard lineups. Who on the Heat was going to be the shot creator with Butler out? They had a real chance here.

Reason 2 why they lost: Not just in the first quarter, but throughout the whole damed game, they Celtics were an absolute turnover machine. The Celtics turned it over 23 times. Brown, hands down their best offensive player with 40 points, turned it over 7 times. Tatum, who was nearly as bad as he was in his terrible game 3 in the last series, turned it over 6 more. Marcus turned it over 4 times. Horford 3 times. That's 20 right there, from our frontline players. Miami was credited with 19 steals to the Celtics 2. And the Celtics turnovers were largely terrible ones. Brown went through a phase in quarter 3 where he just could not hold onto the ball. The Celtics passed directly to an opponent more times in this game than they probably have in their past 5 games. Marcus kept trying to make a pocket pass that the Heat were consistently reading and breaking up - a couple of these were called kicked balls iso weren't turnovers.

The third quarter ended as it started, with the Celtics down 15 even though they had very briefly cut the Miami lead to 9. What happened at that point weas a Celtic mini-turnoverfest (there were several in the game) that let Miami push the lead back up.

Reason 3 why they lost: When the chips were down, Miami made plays and the Celtics mostly just shat on themselves.

View: https://twitter.com/BrianTRobb/status/1528223976971022336?s=20&t=3G_B-M6k-vZwEWn1Tbjn5g

Brian Robb: Al Horford: "For whatever reason, we didn't have the same sense of urgency."

The Celtic made a legit 4th quarter run despite their continued turning over of the ball, eventually cutting the Miami lead to 1 point with 2:40 to play. But Miami, sans Butler, ran off 7 straight, and that was it. There was some further trading of baskets in the final minute, but Boston never got closer than 6.

Starting with the Milwaukee series, the Celtics are now 2-3 on their home court. Game 1 in the Milwaukee series, they weren't ready. Game 5 in the Milwaukee series, they choked. In this game they just weren't ready to play, got humiliated on their own court in the first quarter, and even when they were gifted a chance to come back, could not clean up their sloppy play.

This looks an awful lot like a team that should win a championship, but won't. Something is just missing, or has not yet been developed. Smart and Horford are gamers but aren't good enough to carry the team on their backs for a whole series. Brown and Tatum have the talent but the mental toughness comes and goes.

Six months ago, this team looked like it had its photo in the dictionary next to the word 'mediocre.' They then played the last several months of the season looking elite. Ime managed one hell of a turnaround in a very short time - but maybe Tatum and Brown aren't quite ready to carry the team through a whole postseason (as opposed to individual games here and there) and maybe Smart and Horford are more ready to do that but don't have the talent to do it.

I don't see the Celtics winning this series in less than 7, because even if the Celtics do rip off wins in 4 and 5 they will surely have a letup in game 6. I could see them losing in 6 or 7, because playing with fire sometimes means getting burned.
 
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Curtis Pride

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The Heat took 22 more shots than the Celtics tonight. They also had 15 fewer turnovers (8-23). Still, the Celtics managed to get within one point late in the game before falling back at the end.
 

Eddie Jurak

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It’s going to come down to health. It always does. The C’s are likely up 2-1 or even 3-0 with Horford, Williams and Smart playing all three games.
Health has more or less affected both teams equally, so is not really an excuse. Lowry missed 2 games, Tucker missed parts of games, Butler missed half a game. We've had Rob miss one, Smart miss one, Horford miss one, White miss one. More games lost to injury but Butler is their star.
 

soxin6

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The Celtics were +11 from the line and made one more 3 than the Heat. The difference in the game was the turnovers allowed Miami to shoot 22 more shots, making 9 more than the Celtics. There were too many lazy passes that lead to too many points for the Heat.
 

Eddie Jurak

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The Celtics were +11 from the line and made one more 3 than the Heat. The difference in the game was the turnovers allowed Miami to shoot 22 more shots, making 9 more than the Celtics. There were too many lazy passes that lead to too many points for the Heat.
Celtic also missed seven free throws. Brown missed 3, Smart missed 2.

Anna Horford is more optimistic than me.
View: https://twitter.com/AnnaHorford/status/1528217206206697473?s=20&t=3G_B-M6k-vZwEWn1Tbjn5g

Anna Horford: Cs will win this series.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Mugsy's Jock

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I am sick and fucking tired of seeing Grant bitch and moan to the referees. He’s not doing himself or the team any favors.
 

HomeRunBaker

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The Heat took 22 more shots than the Celtics tonight. They also had 15 fewer turnovers (8-23). Still, the Celtics managed to get within one point late in the game before falling back at the end.
This does not bode well for the Miami Heat on Monday night.
 

Euclis20

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This does not bode well for the Miami Heat on Monday night.
The Celtics are as good as anyone coming off of a loss (11-1 over the last 4 months), but Miami has already done what they wanted to do (win a game in Boston). Even if we start with the premise that Boston is better than Miami, which isn't a given at all, the Celtics are in a lousy spot and blew a golden opportunity tonight. The injury situation is really remarkable (Smart, Williams, Tatum, Butler, Lowry and Tucker could all miss game 4 and it wouldn't surprise me) and that uncertainty isn't a good thing for the Celtics.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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From what I've seen, the Spoelstra led Heat feast on the type of turnovers (ex-the direct passes referenced in Keith Smith's tweet) the C's had this evening. Loose handles, soft passes, attempts to split defenders with a narrow window and lazy inbounds are sustenance to the likes of a Lowry, Butler and even Tucker. Some of the passes the C's made were of the rushed variety - Heat induced - especially from Tatum and Brown.

Between coaching adjustments - Udoka will almost certainly be emphasizing ball security - and a better game from Tatum, it won't be a shock if this series is 2-2 after Monday. For whatever its worth, Miami had 10 TOs to Boston's 16 in G1, the C's had nine TOs to Miami's 14 in G2 and then you had tonight Garden give-away. Thus far, win the TO battle, win the game.
 
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Ed Hillel

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The Heat had 22 more shots and at one point the ft disparity was 20-3 for Boston. And the players complain during and after the game about the officiating. That was as pro-Celtics a game as I can remember being officiated.

As to the game, aside from Tatum and Smart playing like shit, Ime for some reason thought starting Theis was a good idea and let Pritchard rot on the bench when the offense desperately needed a facilitator and Butler was sidelined. Not his finest hour either.
 

tims4wins

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538, whose ratings had been bullish on the Celtics until now, basically has the series at 50/50.
Feels optimistic.

This is the first time all postseason that I am doubting their ability to win the title.

I still don't think your "glass jaw" comment was accurate, but I do think you may be right that there is something missing.
 

Imbricus

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I only watched the first quarter of the game, but the word I thought best described the Celtics: "sleepwalking."

It was so weird to see a team come out, having just grabbed homecourt advantage, and just go through the motions. Blowing easy layups was maddening, but it happens. But there were several passes directly to a cluster of Heat jerseys. That's just not having your head in the game. The energy level seemed low; they just weren't locked in on defense.

One criticism of Ime: I like the guy, and I like the quick timeouts he calls, but one thing he doesn't do is shake up the on-court lineups enough. When the energy is bad, you need to throw a spark in there: Pritchard, Nesmith, even Kornet, somebody who at least is going to play their heart out for a few minutes.
 

NomarsFool

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What really did it for me was when the Heat stole the inbounds pass at the near end of the game. The game was already over, but still, I can’t stand it when that happens. It’s just like - how can you pass the ball to the ONE other member of the other team under your own basket?

It seemed to me like they were trying a different approach to beat the zone by passing to a cutter to the basket. Unfortunately, that seemed to not work like every time, either.a turnover, or if we’re lucky a kicked ball. That’s on the players for not executing but also the staff for not getting them ready for that or not adjusting when it wasn’t working.

Overall, I thought the offense sucked. Too much settling for 3PA. Brown had a good game in stretches, and there were a good number of baskets that certainly looked like they should have gone in. I also felt like they had no answer to the Bam pick and roll.
 

Silverdude2167

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Feels optimistic.

This is the first time all postseason that I am doubting their ability to win the title.

I still don't think your "glass jaw" comment was accurate, but I do think you may be right that there is something missing.
I don't think it's something missing and more just they are still a really young team.

They should have beaten the Bucks 5 or 6 but we're out executed in the close games.

So far they have won or tied every quarter expect for 2. But those two have been terrible and lost them 2 games. They are the better team, but they keep getting in their own way. If they can keep their heads on straight the Heat can't really play with them over a full game.
 

Curtis Pride

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This seems to follow a familiar pattern: the Celtics (esp. Tatum) put up one stinker early in the series that seems to wake them up and have them playing tough basketball the rest of the series. Game 3 may turn out to be their worst game.
 

Eddie Jurak

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I still don't think your "glass jaw" comment was accurate, but I do think you may be right that there is something missing.
If your idea of "glass jaw" means that the Celtics cannot regroup after being punched, then you are right to say that the Celtics don't have one. They obviously did turn it around after their 4 prior playoff losses! What I meant by it is something a little different from that: when they get punched it knocks them off their game for a while and they often don't regroup until the next game.
One criticism of Ime: I like the guy, and I like the quick timeouts he calls, but one thing he doesn't do is shake up the on-court lineups enough. When the energy is bad, you need to throw a spark in there: Pritchard, Nesmith, even Kornet, somebody who at least is going to play their heart out for a few minutes.
In this case, the Celtics made their key run in the 4th while Tatum was injured, and bringing him back in ended the run.
I don't think it's something missing and more just they are still a really young team.

They should have beaten the Bucks 5 or 6 but we're out executed in the close games.

So far they have won or tied every quarter expect for 2. But those two have been terrible and lost them 2 games. They are the better team, but they keep getting in their own way. If they can keep their heads on straight the Heat can't really play with them over a full game.
Well, the something missing could be "experience." Particularly for Tatum, particularly as THE guy on this team. Tatum has a ton of playoff experience for a 24 year old but this is the first season with him as the unquestioned leader of a championship caliber team.

The "lost only 2 quarters" doesn't fully capture how badly they have underachieved in this series. Despite the bad first, yesterday's game was there for the taking, esepcially with Butler out, if only they could have cleaned up their game. As bad as they were in the first, only 5 of their 23 turnovers happened in that quarter. (Two for Theis, one each by Horford, Tatum, and Smart). In their (better) second quarter, they had 6 (2 each by Horford and Tatum, 1 each by Smart and Brown). Miami had only one turnover in that quarter, and still the Celtics outscored them 29-23. Imagine if they had taken care of the ball, what they might have done! Then came quarter 3, which the teams tied, 25-25. The Celtics had 7 turnovers to Miami's 1! Five by Brown and 2 by Smart. Then came quarter 4, which the Celtics won by 9. Five turnovers, including 3 by Tatum. A lot of these turnovers were unforced.

They were not blasted in the second, third, or fourth quarters the way they were in the first. But whatever effort they were putting into this game never extended to taking care of the ball. Butler's injury was a golden opportunity to steal a win in a game they had no business winning, but the once simple thing they needed to do (not make unforced live ball tunrovers) was beyond them.

Jayson Tatum scoring two points on 0 for 4 shooting from the field, in the second half, one of his 2 points coming on a technical free throw, did not help matters. His biggest contribution to the team in the second half was getting injured on a turnover.
 

RedOctober3829

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The “we’ve won more quarters” thing is the new “more days in first place”. Who cares? They’ve epically screwed themselves in 2 of the 3 games with unacceptable play that completely swung the game. What pisses me off the most is the lack of energy at the start last night. It’s a swing game at home in the ECF and that’s what you bring out of the locker room? Extremely frustrating.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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MIA upped their pressure on the passing lanes; BOS did not adjust. They were trying to make the passes they've been making for a few months but MIA was overplaying the passing lanes. Then they started playing in a crowd, which Ime doesn't want to do. Voila - turnover-fest here we come.

MIA with Bam playing well is a different team. They also got a huge lift from Oladipo, kudos to him. I'm wondering if any of this is sustainable for MIA - particularly if TL comes back - but that's why they play the games.

It seemed to me like they were trying a different approach to beat the zone by passing to a cutter to the basket. Unfortunately, that seemed to not work like every time, either.a turnover, or if we’re lucky a kicked ball.
They were going backdoor against the overplaying defense. It worked once in G2. It didn't work at all this game because MIA was ready for it.
 

Dahabenzapple2

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I was as angry as I could be trying to watch that first quarter. Tatum is my favorite player since Pierce yet I cannot understand why he often cannot get it going in certain games.

That being said if Time Lord plays instead of Theis, Celtics win this game. At full strength they are easily the best team in the league. Theis might be ok in some matchups but not against the Heat.
 

BigSoxFan

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The “we’ve won more quarters” thing is the new “more days in first place”. Who cares? They’ve epically screwed themselves in 2 of the 3 games with unacceptable play that completely swung the game. What pisses me off the most is the lack of energy at the start last night. It’s a swing game at home in the ECF and that’s what you bring out of the locker room? Extremely frustrating.
Ime has largely done a great job but he should be skewered for his Theis decision as well. He has all the data. He sees what we all see. I have no idea what his thought process was at all there.
 

Eddie Jurak

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What part?
Pinning the blame for this loss on either Daniel Theis or the absence of Rob. It’s not Theis’ fault that Brown was allergic to the ball during the third quarter, or that Tatum was unable to score from the field during the second half. When a Celtic standing still makes a pass that is picked off by a Jeat player who was also standing still, that’s a deeper problem than having a guy out hurt. And if we are talking about the impact of injuries on this game, there’s still Jimmy Butler to consider.
 

lars10

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Pinning the blame for this loss on either Daniel Theis or the absence of Rob. It’s not Theis’ fault that Brown was allergic to the ball during the third quarter, or that Tatum was unable to score from the field during the second half. When a Celtic standing still makes a pass that is picked off by a Jeat player who was also standing still, that’s a deeper problem than having a guy out hurt. And if we are talking about the impact of injuries on this game, there’s still Jimmy Butler to consider.
Well with all that they were within one. I’d argue that there’s a huge difference between TL and Theis starting.. and that Bam was their best player in the first. With Theis in there.. a player that barely plays.. defensive and offensive rotations are off.. he contributed nothing on either end. One could argue with the Cs so far behind in the first that they had to press the rest of the game.. causing some of those turnovers. Also for some inexplicable reason Ime used the same lineup for almost the entire second half.. all of that is related to Theis starting. That you think it’s laughable.. ok cool.
 

tims4wins

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If your idea of "glass jaw" means that the Celtics cannot regroup after being punched, then you are right to say that the Celtics don't have one. They obviously did turn it around after their 4 prior playoff losses! What I meant by it is something a little different from that: when they get punched it knocks them off their game for a while and they often don't regroup until the next game.
And last night they outscored the Heat by 25 after falling behind by 26, eventually cutting it to 1 before fading. They don’t quit in-game while facing adversity which is what I associate with glass jaw.

That said - even though the NBA is a game of runs, I fully agree with you that it feels like the Celts take longer to get out of funks than other teams, although I can’t claim to watch a ton of non-Celts basketball.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Well with all that they were within one. I’d argue that there’s a huge difference between TL and Theis starting.. and that Bam was their best player in the first. With Theis in there.. a player that barely plays.. defensive and offensive rotations are off.. he contributed nothing on either end. One could argue with the Cs so far behind in the first that they had to press the rest of the game.. causing some of those turnovers. Also for some inexplicable reason Ime used the same lineup for almost the entire second half.. all of that is related to Theis starting. That you think it’s laughable.. ok cool.
They pulled to within one, but lost by 6. Despite the Heat’s best player missing the second half.
 

lars10

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They pulled to within one, but lost by 6. Despite the Heat’s best player missing the second half.
But that wasn’t your overall point and we all know it. You’re saying it’s laughable that TL for Theis was the major problem.. I think there’s a lot of evidence that it was despite all of the other things involved.
 

tbb345

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I think he said it right after in the quote you cropped….

You said it’s laughable that they would have won with Rob Williams playing and less Theis…
 

Kliq

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This does not bode well for the Miami Heat on Monday night.
I'm in the same boat. After three games, eve with Miami snagging two of them, I feel pretty confident that Miami really can't score enough points in traditional half-court sets against the Celtics to win the series. The only thing keeping them afloat is the massive amount of turnovers the Celtics have given them. If the Celtics can avoid that; they should win the series. Last night in the fourth quarter the Heat were DEAD on offense, but a few turnovers and some miracle-shots by Tucker/Bam allowed them to scrape enough together to hold off the Celtics.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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Any injury updates on Tatum, Smart, and Butler? Are they all expected to play Game 4?
It's hard to imagine that Smart will be able to play once the painkillers and adrenaline wear off and the ankle has a chance to swell up, but it was hard to imagine him coming back into the game last night too.
 

CoffeeNerdness

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Starting Theis set the tone for the first quarter which is where the game was lost. Dude was completely useless on both ends and generously helped get Bam off the mat. The error in starting Theis was compounded by subbing out Tatum for a long first-quarter stretch and putting in White when they desperately needed some scoring. Not Ime's finest performance tbh.
 

lars10

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I think he said it right after in the quote you cropped….

You said it’s laughable that they would have won with Rob Williams playing and less Theis…
To be fair to EJ I edited to add context.. apologies for not noting it
 

tbb345

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Any injury updates on Tatum, Smart, and Butler? Are they all expected to play Game 4?
Butler is expected to play in Game 4 apparently. That’s kind of surprising to me as I really can’t think of something that would cause you to miss the second half of a game (when you have adrenaline flowing etc) but then have it reported immediately after the game that it’s not a big deal
 

Jed Zeppelin

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The good news is the team has no problem going on the road and winning. The 2008 team only won 2 road games in their run and I know plenty of people here were similarly thinking they weren’t good enough when it took 14 games to get through the first two rounds.

Much like the Bucks series this still leans in their favor once they get it to 2-2 given how TO-aided the losses have been. When a clean game leads to a blowout win and awful, sloppy games lead to close losses (same as in the MIL series), it’s there for the taking just as it was even after the most ball-crushing loss I’ve ever seen (game 5).
 

Ed Hillel

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Feels optimistic.

This is the first time all postseason that I am doubting their ability to win the title.

I still don't think your "glass jaw" comment was accurate, but I do think you may be right that there is something missing.
What’s missing is Robert Williams, the big body banger who gets you a double double most games, while playing elite defense, closing lanes on that end, and opening them up on offense. Everyone asked what changed about the January-April Celtics, and the answer, to me, was Robert Williams both improved his game AND managed to stay healthy playing 40 minutes per game.

Williams is exactly the guy the Jays/Celtics have needed, and the dropoff without him is significant. They go from clearly the best team in basketball/a potential juggernaut, to one of a handful of teams competing.

They still should have won that game, the effort was at times pathetic, but the “it” factor to this team is Timelord. He was/is the final piece…if he can stay on the court and play at 100%. The version they’re getting now isn’t 100%, unfortunately, but he still helps.

Bam was 13-15 in the paint last night. There’s only one person on the team who can guard him when he decides he wants to play aggressively.
 
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