Celtics vs. Heat, Round 3 Discussion

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Eddie Jurak

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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.
Tatum would have been in sooner had there been a stoppage sooner. He came out with 5:28 to go and the Celtics down 24-7. At 3:01 Brown was fouled on a 3 point attempt and the score 29-10. Brown hit all three, 29-13. Fifteen seconds later, Dedmon fouls Smart who hits 1-2, 29-14. Tatum could have come in on either foul. But from 2:42 to 0:14, Miami went on a 10-4 run and there were no stoppages. Of course Ime could have called time.
 

OnTheBlack

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Was at the game. Miami was begging to give it away and the crowd was incredible. You just can’t turn the ball over so much. Maddening to try all these cutesy passes into the teeth of their quick D. Be smart, safe, and score over or through them. We are the better team but they now have 2 in the W column, they don’t give those back. It likely goes 7 now and that will be in Miami.
 

The Social Chair

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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).
The Celtics will win when they shoot 50% from 3, but Miami's defense in games 1 & 3 seems more sustainable to me than the Celtics shooting in game 2.
 

Imbricus

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The Celtics will win when they shoot 50%
I always wince when they shoot better than 45% on threes in a game, because there's a high risk they'll think that they're a great three-point shooting team all of a sudden, and the offense will be lazy the next game.
 

jmanny24

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Out of all the things that frustrated me last night, the turnovers were the biggest. It wasn't just the turnovers, it was the unforced turnovers. How many times did they try to make the impossible pass instead of the next pass? The good shots from making the right pass, and not trying to skip it through the hands of 3 defenders.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Can't imagine Tatum will be able to play again after his catastrophic injury.
At least he didn't show up for postgame interviews sporting a huge bandage on his shoulder.
Out of all the things that frustrated me last night, the turnovers were the biggest. It wasn't just the turnovers, it was the unforced turnovers. How many times did they try to make the impossible pass instead of the next pass? The good shots from making the right pass, and not trying to skip it through the hands of 3 defenders.
You and Keith Smith.

https://www.celticsblog.com/2022/5/22/23136762/more-turnovers-than-a-bakery-10-takeaways-from-boston-celtics-miami-heat-game-3

Whew boy, were there turnovers.

The Boston Celtics gave the ball away 24 times in Game 3. The Miami Heat had 19 steals. That’s one off a single-game playoff record.

The Celtics had all kinds of turnovers. They lost the ball on passes, including five where Boston threw the pass directly to a stationary Miami defender.

They lost the ball on live dribbles seven times.

That’s 12 turnovers where the ball was directly given to the Heat. And, somehow, that’s only half of Boston’s giveaways!
Because of the 24 turnovers, the Celtics allowed the Heat to score 33 points off turnovers.

Overall, Miami outscored Boston 33-9 in points off turnovers. A 24-point margin in a six-point game.
But also not just turnovers, deflections, too.
Beyond the 24 turnovers forced and 19 steals, the Heat had 29 deflections Game 3.

For reference, the Celtics made 310 passes in this game. That means Miami had one deflection for every 10 Boston passes.
Yes, some deflections came off dribbles, but it’s still a telling stat.

Further context: Victor Oladipo did not play in the first half. He played 20:25 of the second half. He had eight deflections in those 20 minutes.

The Celtics had seven deflections as a team in 48 minutes.
He also notes that 22/24 turnovers were by the starters. That only Marcus Smart had more assists than turnovers.
Let’s zero in on Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum for a minute. Everyone else was relatively low in turnover numbers. The two Celtics stars were pushing the ball on the Heat like it was an “Everything must go!” sale.
13 combined for them, including 9 in the second half. (That, and Butler's injury, is what any takes that only focus on the poor start are missing.)
 

Tony C

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... The only thing keeping them afloat is the massive amount of turnovers the Celtics have given them. ....
... given how TO-aided the losses have been....
This talk about TOs seems to be treating Miami like they're just a neutral team w/out impact on those TOs. Sure, there were definitely a number of unforced TOs, but Miami was also an active part in creating a lot of TOs as well as numerous deflections. TOs aren't just "given," they are also taken by the opposing team.
 

Ed Hillel

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This talk about TOs seems to be treating Miami like they're just a neutral team w/out impact on those TOs. Sure, there were definitely a number of unforced TOs, but Miami was also an active part in creating a lot of TOs as well as numerous deflections. TOs aren't just "given," they are also taken by the opposing team.
While true, a lot of these have been stupid decisions, and the fact they can be so clustered leads me to believe the team has mental and emotional lapses borne out of frustration. The third quarter of game 1 was a perfect example. Miami’s D is excellent, but your stars have to be better and keep their composure. They do the same thing arguing foul calls. Gotta focus.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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The Celtics will win when they shoot 50% from 3, but Miami's defense in games 1 & 3 seems more sustainable to me than the Celtics shooting in game 2.
The Celtics defense in G2 was also smothering in the same exact way they’ve destroyed teams for months.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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This talk about TOs seems to be treating Miami like they're just a neutral team w/out impact on those TOs. Sure, there were definitely a number of unforced TOs, but Miami was also an active part in creating a lot of TOs as well as numerous deflections. TOs aren't just "given," they are also taken by the opposing team.
If you take away the unforced turnovers a lot of the problem goes away. You can survive 12-15 turnovers, 20+ is killer.
 

Ed Hillel

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The Celtics defense in G2 was also smothering in the same exact way they’ve destroyed teams for months.
Yes, and the Celtics don’t need to shoot 50% from 3, they need to not turn the ball over a dozen or more times. If these quarter long meltdowns are sustainable, the Heat will win.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Any injury updates on Tatum, Smart, and Butler? Are they all expected to play Game 4?
My non-medical opinion would be….

Tatum - LOL Yes

Smart - Yes. Looked a lot worse than it actually was.

Butler - No. Basing this off last series and the fact that for a tough MF to sit out one playoff game then bail on a second……this injury is significant.
 

BigSoxFan

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Yes, and the Celtics don’t need to shoot 50% from 3, they need to not turn the ball over a dozen or more times. If these quarter long meltdowns are sustainable, the Heat will win.
One of our board fears before this series was Heat points after turnovers. Sadly, this has been a real factor so far.
 

Bleedred

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For what it's worth, I read a report this morning that butler will not miss any more time. I think it was on cbssports.com, but can't remember.
 

Joe Sixpack

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For what it's worth, I read a report this morning that butler will not miss any more time. I think it was on cbssports.com, but can't remember.
Yes, that's what they are saying.

But it's kind of hard to imagine something that would completely keep him out of the 2nd half (especially once it was close) but we're sure he's gonna come back next game.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Could easily be a TL situation where it keeps popping up, or at the very least limits him in game a bit.

Doesn’t change anything about what the Celtics need to do but the Heat half court offense is in real trouble if he is hampered and not able to get to his spots.
 

benhogan

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Tatum gets 80% (the majority) of the blame for yesterday's loss. When you're the #1 option you just can't turn in that type of performance and expect to win. That being said I expect he'll come back strong.

The other 20% goes to IME & staff. Miami set up their zone with Oladipo/Lowry up top in the 2nd half and the JAYs continuously tried to dribble into the seams. ADVANTAGE MIAMI. To compound it IME didn't use PP in the 2nd half nearly enough. He's the very definition of ZONE-BUSTER and smart ball handler (he doesn't try to dribble into seams). They need to put Horford at the FT line, feed Al, let him draw attention and have him move the ball to the JAYs, Grant or PP for step-in 3s (or rotate the ball for Corner3s). Dribbling into 3-4 players in the lane was asinine & the JAY's took the bait. Needs to end or they will end up with 20+ turnovers since that's Miami's specialty.

Pritchard has 29 AST/3 TOs during these playoffs. ALSO with Butler out for the 2nd half they missed a huge opportunity to break Miami's will. PP would not have been hunted with Jimmy out. Coaching mistake, plain and simple.

Ball movement, less ISO dribbling, and more step in 3s, with the right players on the floor will easily break Miami's zone down. Yesterday's game felt like December in May.
 
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RetractableRoof

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I will be shocked if Smart plays, simply shocked. Adrenaline and a re-tape are one thing, I imagine he's got a softball for an ankle today.
 

NomarsFool

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As seems to be the pattern, as goes Grant, so goes the Celtics. Weird how that seems to be the case. More correlation than causation.
 

benhogan

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As seems to be the pattern, as goes Grant, so goes the Celtics. Weird how that seems to be the case. More correlation than causation.
Grant basically only shoots when the ball is moving and he gets open looks. When the JAYs go ISO/coma dribble fest the ball doesn't reach him.

The correlation is little ball movement = less efficient offense
 

Jimbodandy

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Grant basically only shoots when the ball is moving and he gets open looks. When the JAYs go ISO/coma dribble fest the ball doesn't reach him.

The correlation is little ball movement = less efficient offense
This is correct. Everything works when Tatum and Brown are at all effective, particularly Tatum. If he goes into Kobe mode (or God help us, both of them), then all hope hangs on him/them shooting at a high rate. It's not what has made this team successful for the last few months.

FWIW, I think that four months of smart play at both ends is still not quite burned into their DNA. When rattled, they sometimes revert to old, bad practices. It's kinda understandable and something that most of us can relate to at some level.
 

RetractableRoof

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Given how terrible White was yesterday, that will be a major problem.
In fairness to White, his family just had a baby. I don't imagine that he has gotten much sleep over the last 48 hours. Maybe it's not directly related to any subpar performance, but it isn't positioning him for success either.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Tatum gets 80% (the majority) of the blame for yesterday's loss. When you're the #1 option you just can't turn in that type of performance and expect to win. That being said I expect he'll come back strong.

The other 20% goes to IME & staff. Miami set up their zone with Oladipo/Lowry up top in the 2nd half and the JAYs continuously tried to dribble into the seams. ADVANTAGE MIAMI. To compound it IME didn't use PP in the 2nd half nearly enough. He's the very definition of ZONE-BUSTER and smart ball handler (he doesn't try to dribble into seams). They need to put Horford at the FT line, feed Al, let him draw attention and have him move the ball to the JAYs, Grant or PP for step-in 3s (or rotate the ball for Corner3s). Dribbling into 3-4 players in the lane was asinine & the JAY's took the bait. Needs to end or they will end up with 20+ turnovers since that's Miami's specialty.

With Butler out for the 2nd half they missed a huge opportunity to break Miami's will. PP would not have been hunted with Jimmy out. Coaching mistake, plain and simple.

Ball movement, less ISO dribbling, and more step in 3s, with the right players on the floor will easily break Miami's zone down. Yesterday's game felt like December in May.
I am biased because I think Al should practically run the offense but yeah, he needs to be the cog to facilitate when they are confused. He is the guy who will make the right decision, find the open man, or take the shot if the open man happens to be himself.

Like Tom Brady does when he sees a certain defensive alignment, the Cs need to be faster to adjust when they see a zone or other alignment that gives them some trouble. Stopping getting beat by the same thing over and over again.

I think they see the opportunity to beat two men at once off the dribble a la a Kyrie step through and it does occasionally work but is simply too risky in this situation.
 

Van Everyman

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As seems to be the pattern, as goes Grant, so goes the Celtics. Weird how that seems to be the case. More correlation than causation.
There were almost zero kicks to the corner office yesterday. I imagine that was partly due to the zone negating the ability for Tatum to drive and kick. But still. The spacing was generally terrible all game.
 

benhogan

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This is correct. Everything works when Tatum and Brown are at all effective, particularly Tatum. If he goes into Kobe mode (or God help us, both of them), then all hope hangs on him/them shooting at a high rate. It's not what has made this team successful for the last few months.

FWIW, I think that four months of smart play at both ends is still not quite burned into their DNA. When rattled, they sometimes revert to old, bad practices. It's kinda understandable and something that most of us can relate to at some level.
+1...Absolutely, they are young and not fully developed. This run felt like a season early, but here we are and the Championship is ripe for the taking

We also need to give Spoelstra credit. There is a reason he was ranked as one of the 15 greatest HC of all time. His adjustments are nothing short of brilliant. They absolutely dared the JAYs/Smart to dribble into trouble while keeping his ball hawks on the floor most of the time. Turnovers are the Celtic's kryptonite, if Boston can stay away from that one flaw they will raise banner 18.
 

radsoxfan

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Smart's injury looked bad, all going to depend on the amount of swelling today/tomorrow. Not uncommon to be able to play again right away then be out for a week after that, hopefully not the case here. Sometimes the acute on chronic sprains look very bad when the ligaments are already lax. Can allow for an ugly looking twist with a little less swelling/hematoma in the aftermath. Don't recall if this ankle has been a recurring issue for him.

Seems like Rob will be in and out all playoffs, just hope for the best but can't really count on him. Not a great long term omen for him but time will tell.

No idea what to expect from Butler, kind of odd he was suddenly unable to play mid game without an apparent new injury.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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No idea what to expect from Butler, kind of odd he was suddenly unable to play mid game without an apparent new injury.
Any chance that Butler's injury needs some management and they decided to just give him the second half off given that they were playing with house money at that point - a large lead, the Celtics kind of a mess? The Celts closed the half on a run that made the score not so out of reach as it was a few minutes earlier, so maybe that doesn't really make sense, but it certainly seemed odd.
 

radsoxfan

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Any chance that Butler's injury needs some management and they decided to just give him the second half off given that they were playing with house money at that point - a large lead, the Celtics kind of a mess? The Celts closed the half on a run that made the score not so out of reach as it was a few minutes earlier, so maybe that doesn't really make sense, but it certainly seemed odd.
I doubt with a 15 point lead at the half they felt the win was assured, so I have to assume if they felt Butler could/should play, he would have.

I haven't really heard much about the injury other than "inflammation" so hard to know what to make of it. Without any other info, I'd assume he has some arthritis and gets recurrent knee effusions due to the cartilage loss, bone bruising, and subsequent inflammation. Maybe when it flares up badly enough he can't play effectively and he needs to get the fluid drained.

Pure speculation of course. But if it was something more specific we probably would know by now.
 

Strike4

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It seems like there Celtics get in mired in these terrible quarters and the problem isn't really one thing (turnovers, lack of ball movement, etc.). It's like they just need to tread water and eventually they come out of it - Ime makes the right adjustment, the players get back into good habits, shooting gets better, etc.

If anything, I'd just like to see Ime help them get through it a bit more proactively since at this point in the playoffs you have so little margin for error. As others have mentioned, getting PP and/or White in there earlier just to tread water might help. Those guys aren't going to save the day necessarily but I think they've shown that they can at least be relied on to not turn the ball over and just focus for a couple minutes. It shows the Heat a different look and gives the starters time to chill and collect themselves. I just think Ime isn't quite there yet with the backup backcourt.
 

lars10

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It seems like there Celtics get in mired in these terrible quarters and the problem isn't really one thing (turnovers, lack of ball movement, etc.). It's like they just need to tread water and eventually they come out of it - Ime makes the right adjustment, the players get back into good habits, shooting gets better, etc.

If anything, I'd just like to see Ime help them get through it a bit more proactively since at this point in the playoffs you have so little margin for error. As others have mentioned, getting PP and/or White in there earlier just to tread water might help. Those guys aren't going to save the day necessarily but I think they've shown that they can at least be relied on to not turn the ball over and just focus for a couple minutes. It shows the Heat a different look and gives the starters time to chill and collect themselves. I just think Ime isn't quite there yet with the backup backcourt.
Yeah.. that..even more than turnovers yesterday.. was one of my major issues with the game. There were ZERO adjustments. Ime left the starters in for almost the entire game.. well everyone but Theis who he played for 12 minutes and then replaced him with Grant. Only really took Tatum and Smart out when they were injured. They weren't playing well, but he decided to change absolutely nothing. Why did he think it wasn't worth mixing it up even a little bit? Even when the team actually made a comeback with Tatum out.. what does he do? Put Tatum right back in and then again watch him continue to play poorly until he raised the white flag a few minutes later. I feel like we have a young team with a new coach that is still learning the ropes.. hopefully they all grow together.
 

Deathofthebambino

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I'll say this. If I see one more pocket bounce pass against a zone, with 19 hands in the way, I'm going to lose my fucking shit.

That was the worst passing display of basketball I've seen in my life from an NBA team. People talk about hero ball, they were trying to make hero passes for no fucking reason all night long.

I'll be there tomorrow night. Just fucking win.
 

Deathofthebambino

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And the minute Butler was out of the game, PP's minutes should have fucking exploded. They hunt PP with Butler on the defensive end, but they don't do it with anyone else. PP can cover Herro or Robinson or Strus well enough and his offense was needed badly.

And I don't care who is out of the game, Theis should not be starting.

Ime had a hand in this one.
 

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Yeah.. that..even more than turnovers yesterday.. was one of my major issues with the game. There were ZERO adjustments. Ime left the starters in for almost the entire game.. well everyone but Theis who he played for 12 minutes and then replaced him with Grant. Only really took Tatum and Smart out when they were injured. They weren't playing well, but he decided to change absolutely nothing. Why did he think it wasn't worth mixing it up even a little bit? Even when the team actually made a comeback with Tatum out.. what does he do? Put Tatum right back in and then again watch him continue to play poorly until he raised the white flag a few minutes later. I feel like we have a young team with a new coach that is still learning the ropes.. hopefully they all grow together.
This is obviously way too simplistic, but it seems to me that Ime has a rotational strategy, and he rarely veers from it unless forced to due to fouls or injury. I'm still totally baffled by the lack of PP minutes in the second half.
 

lars10

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This is obviously way too simplistic, but it seems to me that Ime has a rotational strategy, and he rarely veers from it unless forced to due to fouls or injury. I'm still totally baffled by the lack of PP minutes in the second half.
yeah.. PP not playing in the second half when all we needed was three point shooting... and Tatum wasn't hitting. What was the downside of putting PP in to at least try and change things?

edit: I feel like I should add that Ime having a rotational strategy does usually feel like the norm.. which was what was so weird about yesterday because there was no rotation. It was like playing your favorite team in a video game and just playing the top five players for the entire game and thinking that it would just work out and they'd never get tired.. or that they'd get better the more they played.
 
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HomeRunBaker

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The more passing and motion that there is against playoff level defenses the more turnovers are going to occur. It’s like the final 6 minutes of the 4Q when teams iso more except that teams are defending at this level for 48 minutes. Passing and motion is fun but turnovers come with that “fun” which is why Golden St led the league in Turnovers this year.
 

Just a bit outside

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Ime did and should have put Tatum back in if he is healthy. Tatum was terrible but you put him in and hope he turns it around in the final 3 minutes. Having said that I was screaming for PP in the game thread and he should have played more in the game.
 

Eddie Jurak

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I'll say this. If I see one more pocket bounce pass against a zone, with 19 hands in the way, I'm going to lose my fucking shit.

That was the worst passing display of basketball I've seen in my life from an NBA team. People talk about hero ball, they were trying to make hero passes for no fucking reason all night long.

I'll be there tomorrow night. Just fucking win.
Word.
 

k-factory

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Not sure Theis starting Is the crushing decision it’s made out to be. Grant still logged 39 mins and fouled out. Horford logged 41 mins. Theis logged 10 which is less than his 19 in game 1. Without TL those bigs minutes have to come from somewhere.
Losing TL is a problem but the C’s seemed tired and clueless out there. If we’re going to put something on Ime it’s how ill prepared they looked for a game 3. Overconfidence? Travel catching up to them? New parenthood?
Going from 9 in the previous game to 23 turnovers is obviously the story of the game.
I expect a much crisper game tonight after being at home for a few days.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Not sure Theis starting Is the crushing decision it’s made out to be. Grant still logged 39 mins and fouled out. Horford logged 41 mins. Theis logged 10 which is less than his 19 in game 1. Without TL those bigs minutes have to come from somewhere.
Losing TL is a problem but the C’s seemed tired and clueless out there. If we’re going to put something on Ime it’s how ill prepared they looked for a game 3. Overconfidence? Travel catching up to them? New parenthood?
Going from 9 in the previous game to 23 turnovers is obviously the story of the game.
I expect a much crisper game tonight after being at home for a few days.
On Reddick's podcast, Tatum mentioned that in the bubble, the effects of going 7 against TOR really hit home during the MIA series. Particularly going every other, it seems evident that the physical stress of the playoffs is catching up to BOS a bit; I'm wondering how much the mental stress is contributing to the less than ideal performances.
 

lars10

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Not sure Theis starting Is the crushing decision it’s made out to be. Grant still logged 39 mins and fouled out. Horford logged 41 mins. Theis logged 10 which is less than his 19 in game 1. Without TL those bigs minutes have to come from somewhere.
Losing TL is a problem but the C’s seemed tired and clueless out there. If we’re going to put something on Ime it’s how ill prepared they looked for a game 3. Overconfidence? Travel catching up to them? New parenthood?
Going from 9 in the previous game to 23 turnovers is obviously the story of the game.
I expect a much crisper game tonight after being at home for a few days.
Why not bring him off the bench like you have the duration of the playoffs? The player that went off in the first was the one he was guarding.. a player that has done nothing the first three games. The lead in the first quarter was 20-6 when he left the game with 6:50 left. Bam scored 8 of those points.

The Celts were collectively out of sorts but Theis starting was a big part of that problem.
 

lars10

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On Reddick's podcast, Tatum mentioned that in the bubble, the effects of going 7 against TOR really hit home during the MIA series. Particularly going every other, it seems evident that the physical stress of the playoffs is catching up to BOS a bit; I'm wondering how much the mental stress is contributing to the less than ideal performances.
Tatum definitely struggles with players who are allowed to clutch and grab and just generally get in the way all game. Tucker just gets under his skin and is constantly just in his way. And now Lowry is also in the mix.doing all the BS he does as well.