Celtics vs. Heat, Round 3 Discussion

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HowBoutDemSox

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These are really ticky tack calls if made. Never would expect a defensive 3 second or travel on either of those plays
It sometimes seems like the last two minute reports really are closer to performance art than they are to real transparency around officiating.
 

Van Everyman

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Let's go a bit deeper.
  • Smart hits two FTs to put them up 13.
  • Lowry hits a semi-contested step back from the top of the key at 3:24. Tough shot.
  • Smart walks the dog (Mark Jones still doesn't know why he would do this); Smart gets the ball to JT at the 3:00 mark but with 14 seconds left on the shot clock. JT makes an almost immediate move; he's basically double-teamed; throws it back to Smart who drives into the lane and takes a pretty much uncontested 12 footer that was just long at 2:52 and 8 seconds left on the clock. Smart makes these more often than Lowry hits the step-back, but I think this is a good possession.
  • Strus had his follow dunk.
  • JT walks the ball up the court. He makes a not-aggressive move without 15 seconds left on the clock (2:30) and gets doubled. He gets the ball to Grant on the right side way above the 3P line and for some reason, MIA has two defenders there (Strus and Butler). Strus realizes he's out of position but GW sees Smart. Smart takes his wide-open 3P with 8 seconds left on the clock (2:23). There is no one within 10 feet of him. I mean Olapido is still in the key when Smart starts his shot. He has to take that.
  • Horford gets the rebound at 2:20 and gets the ball to GW, who gets the ball to JT (GW heads to the dunker spot). JT dribbles for a moment and then drives the right side. Bam is in front of him; Strus is to his side; Olapido is trailing. (Note that GW is not providing any spacing being in the dunker spot.) JT leaps and gets the ball to Smart with 4.1 on the shot clock (2:09) in exactly the same spot. Lowry is closest defender - maybe four feet closer than Oladipo on the last shot). Clang.
  • Bam gets the rebound and goes coast-to-coast. Horford contests and Bam misses the layup but ball apparently goes out of bounds off Brown (he and Lowry were both reaching.) This is at 1:59. No reply. Ime thought about challenging this but did not.
  • Oladipo tried a floater from 12 feet. Long.
  • Cs have the ball with 1:53 left. JT gets the ball at the top guarded by Oladipo. JT makes his move with 7 seconds left. Bam comes to double. JT leaps. Strus cheats towards JB. JT passes behind him to a cutting GW. This was a freaking great pass. GW could have gone straight up as he was only guarded by Lowry. He also could have thrown a lob or pass to an unguarded Horford for an easy layup. Instead, GW did the one thing he probably shouldn't have done and dribbled. Oh well. But this was a great play by Tatum.
  • Oladipo makes a layup with 1:23 left. 7 point game.
  • JT gets the ball moving across half court with 1:18 left. MIA immediately traps him with Lowry and Oladipo. JT correctly gets the ball out of his hands to GW just inside the 3P line. GW moves the ball to JB on the left baseline. JB drives and moves the ball to Horford, who then moves the ball to a wide-open Smart. Smart starts to shoot with 12 seconds left on the clock (1:12). He is so wide-open that Butler, the closest defender, doesn't even both jumping. He's got to take that shot. I've posted a picture of the floor right after he shot. Because Smart was so wide open, MIA managed to get back to the other Cs and because Butler didn't contest the shot, it's doubtful that the Cs would have gotten anything better. I think this is another very good possession.
  • Lowry takes GW off the dribble and scores with 1:00 left. GW doesn't play good defense and does slap down on the ball. He's kind of lucky he didn't get a foul called on him.
  • JT gets the ball with 20 seconds left on the shot clock; crosses the center line with 18-19 seconds on the shot clock; and has Lowry swiping at the ball and Butler ahead of him. JB gets the ball and doesn't see anyone between him and the hoop. I'm sure JB figures when he gets the ball, he's going to end it - either with a basket or a foul. He didn't and turned the ball over at 51.3.
  • Strus hits his three with 45.8.
  • JT crosses the center line with 17 seconds left on the shot clock; runs the shot clock down to 8 seconds (28.4). Smart gets the ball with 6 on the shot clock. He has Horford open in the corner but Butler is sprinting to get to Al. So Smart drives. There are a couple of problems with this play. (1) JT moves when Smart starts to drive but JB doesn't so they are about three feet away from each other. Poor spacing. (2) GW was in his corner office when JT started his move but when Smart drove, GW walked in. Not sure why he walked in - maybe to rebound? - but because he did, there was one more defender in the paint. So Smart drives, comes to a jump stop with 4.4 on the shot clock; there are four Heat defenders in the paint and Smart thinks a pump fake and then a layup over Bam is the shot to take. But that's better than a live-ball TO.
  • And then Butler.
So my conclusion is that BOS played good - not great - but got good shots that didn't go down, You can argue that Brown shouldn't have taken it to the hole and maybe you are correct but I'm sure Brown thought he was ending the game there. And finally, on the last possession, the Cs spacing wasn't great so that was maybe the worst possession of them all. But this was a far cry from the games in November / December / January where the Cs wouldn't be able to get even decent shots during crunch time.
This is a great post. All I would add is that the Celtics didn’t have this problem for most of the second half of the season because they blew the doors off of everybody. If there’s one thing hanging in everybody’s minds now, it’s the end of the Dallas game when Luka killed us. That felt like a flashback to earlier in the season but was both an outlier and driven by an all-time great player.

That said, I actually do think JVG has a point. This team needs to play offense with rhythm and flow. They look awful when they get out of their rhythm which happens every now and again mid game and they usually correct it after a timeout. In this case, while I do agree they got good shots for Marcus, Grant and Jaylen at the end, I wonder if part of the reason they all clanged and were turned over is that while they were ostensibly open looks in space, none were received in the usual flow and rhythm that they are used to.
 

reggiecleveland

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I find that those who hold players to standards of always making the right decision and always executing perfectly struggle the most with these games/series.
One big step I had to take as a coach was to accept my team getting good shots, not the best shots. You may get a team that gets the best shot 50% of the time if you are lucky to have a group that has been together a while and at least three really smart players. Getting a good shot is usually all you can hope for, against good opponents even that is tough.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Good shots, BUT at that point the clock is more important. Have they improved from earlier this season, YES.
Is there room for improvement... absolutely. Are we expecting perfection??? nope

It's questionable clock mgmt. Taking 3 shots with 8, 12, 15 seconds left on the shot clock when the floor is spread, running ISO while rotating Miami. They could have easily burned more time.

The fact is they never once ran a shot clock down 22 seconds with an open 3, which is what I pushed back on and why I posted the video.
On the other hand, you can say that the Cs got two shots off with 4 seconds left on the clock (one was the GW strip) and one with 6 seconds so that's pretty good clock management.

Also, you made a point about Smart missing Horford wide open before his first 3P. I don't know if I'd call him wide-open when Smart gathers for his shot - Oladipo was there. True, Oladipo was coming off Horford to contest Smart and maybe Smart should have figured that out but that's not the easiest pass to lob it into Horford while evading Oladipo.

The real questionable decision was JB taking it to the basket but like Butler's 3P, I think I have to live with that from my team's stars.
 

DJnVa

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These are really ticky tack calls if made. Never would expect a defensive 3 second or travel on either of those plays
Maybe. Traveling isn't really ticky-tack to me and the video of Butler wasn't like he was in there 3.2 seconds.
 

BigSoxFan

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On the other hand, you can say that the Cs got two shots off with 4 seconds left on the clock (one was the GW strip) and one with 6 seconds so that's pretty good clock management.

Also, you made a point about Smart missing Horford wide open before his first 3P. I don't know if I'd call him wide-open when Smart gathers for his shot - Oladipo was there. True, Oladipo was coming off Horford to contest Smart and maybe Smart should have figured that out but that's not the easiest pass to lob it into Horford while evading Oladipo.

The real questionable decision was JB taking it to the basket but like Butler's 3P, I think I have to live with that from my team's stars.
I think JB’s decision to drive was largely because he was going to get trapped in the corner so he had to move fast. That entire possession was a disaster because you had Smart camping out in the corner like Bruce Bowen and not able to help and Horford/Williams at the top. Credit to Miami’s D on that possession. They got the Celtics to do exactly what they wanted.
 

benhogan

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On the other hand, you can say that the Cs got two shots off with 4 seconds left on the clock (one was the GW strip) and one with 6 seconds so that's pretty good clock management.

Also, you made a point about Smart missing Horford wide open before his first 3P. I don't know if I'd call him wide-open when Smart gathers for his shot - Oladipo was there. True, Oladipo was coming off Horford to contest Smart and maybe Smart should have figured that out but that's not the easiest pass to lob it into Horford while evading Oladipo.

The real questionable decision was JB taking it to the basket but like Butler's 3P, I think I have to live with that from my team's stars.
Marcus threaded a 10x harder pass with an up fake, 2 secs on the clock, against the Nets Game 1

survive and advance...100% confidence in IME correcting end of game flaws...

Like many have said there is a definite improvement. ie Tatum was completely on point

I tend to agree with this take, but he have half the posters in here telling us that they slowed it down too much. They can't win
I'm cool with any and all takes/opinions, I mean that's what most of us are here for.

BUT we can end factually incorrect takes like burn 22 seconds & get a clean look with the video
 
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joe dokes

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We like open 3pt looks but the bolded isn't really accurate. Granted Miami hit some amazing shots ie Strus JAM and 3 o_O but the Celtics clock mgmt/approach was not good. This team has been bad late/tight all season, the entire league knows it.
And the entire league, except for the Warriors, is talking about it on the golf course, or twitter.

That said, I actually do think JVG has a point. This team needs to play offense with rhythm and flow. They look awful when they get out of their rhythm which happens every now and again mid game and they usually correct it after a timeout. In this case, while I do agree they got good shots for Marcus, Grant and Jaylen at the end, I wonder if part of the reason they all clanged and were turned over is that while they were ostensibly open looks in space, none were received in the usual flow and rhythm that they are used to.
This sounds right. It makes sense as a general observation -- teams do better when they are playing the style they play better in.
 

HomeRunBaker

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With 3 and a half minutes to go, the next 6 of the Celtics' 8 possessions ended with Smart taking a shot (the other two were a strip on Grant and Brown's offensive foul). I just don't think that's what the Celtics should be doing in crunch time, and I hope we don't see that again.
What should they be doing when the defense collapses on Tatum once he begins his move to the basket? If he forces a shot or commits a turnover he’d be criticized for playing “hero ball” now when his teammate misses open shots he’s criticized for that too? Miami has one of the best halfcourt defenses in the league……getting off clean looks down the stretch is an accomplishment in itself as we saw when Jaylen tried to create off the dribble.
 

radsoxfan

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Since I posted Game 6, I'll post Game 7 too. Shot Quality thinks the Celtics got pretty lucky and the Heat had a 65% chance to win that game based on shots taken.

Obviously this all comes down to how much you trust their categorization/algorithm, so take it with a grain of salt if you want.

Certainly it felt like the Heat were far luckier in game 6 than game 7. The Heat shooting only 20% on 3s in Game 7 saved the Celtics given how badly they played down the stretch.
 

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Eddie Jurak

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What should they be doing when the defense collapses on Tatum once he begins his move to the basket? If he forces a shot or commits a turnover he’d be criticized for playing “hero ball” now when his teammate misses open shots he’s criticized for that too? Miami has one of the best halfcourt defenses in the league……getting off clean looks down the stretch is an accomplishment in itself as we saw when Jaylen tried to create off the dribble.
Kind of a false choice being offered here.
 

slamminsammya

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Since I posted Game 6, I'll post Game 7 too. Shot Quality thinks the Celtics got pretty lucky and the Heat had a 65% chance to win that game based on shots taken.

Obviously this all comes down to how much you trust their categorization/algorithm, so take it with a grain of salt if you want.

Certainly it felt like the Heat were far luckier in game 6 than game 7. The Heat shooting only 20% on 3s in Game 7 saved the Celtics given how badly they played down the stretch.
"proprietary algorithm" together with 90 variables, my spidey senses are telling me they definitely overfit. There just isn't enough data (imo) to build a robust model that is using 90 variables but also not overfitting. Unless that is just marketing bullshit to make it sound fancy.

(End modelling digression).
 

radsoxfan

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"proprietary algorithm" together with 90 variables, my spidey senses are telling me they definitely overfit. There just isn't enough data (imo) to build a robust model that is using 90 variables but also not overfitting. Unless that is just marketing bullshit to make it sound fancy.

(End modelling digression).

Yeah, I would also bet on the model being questionable. The times I have looked it's matched up generally with what I've seen, but I definitely wouldn't assume any precision here either.

Haralabos Voulgaris posts teams expected points per possession all the time based on some website. Basically the same thing.
 

slamminsammya

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Yeah, I would also bet on the model being questionable. The times I have looked it's matched up generally with what I've seen, but I definitely wouldn't assume any precision here either.

Haralabos Voulgaris posts teams expected points per possession all the time based on some website. Basically the same thing.
The idea is sound but I think you need to be pretty careful about how you implement it. For a single game I am not sure applying it to only 70 shots will be helpful, especially if it has some kind of systemic errors that don't show up when aggregating over all their test data.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Kind of a false choice being offered here.
What part is false. Should Tatum take a bad shot/commit charge (like Jaylen did) or find the open shooter? It’s human nature to be results oriented but I felt Tatum made a ton of correct decisions with the ball in the 4Q of the last two games. It’s a sign of his maturity and taking that next step.
 

chilidawg

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What part is false. Should Tatum take a bad shot/commit charge (like Jaylen did) or find the open shooter? It’s human nature to be results oriented but I felt Tatum made a ton of correct decisions with the ball in the 4Q of the last two games. It’s a sign of his maturity and taking that next step.
Wouldn't another option be to run Tatum or Brown off multiple screens to try to get them open looks? I'm not complaining about the game end play here, as I thought the looks Smart got were actually quite good, but trying to think of other ways they might execute offensively outside of Tatum initiating the offense.
 

benhogan

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What part is false. Should Tatum take a bad shot/commit charge (like Jaylen did) or find the open shooter? It’s human nature to be results oriented but I felt Tatum made a ton of correct decisions with the ball in the 4Q of the last two games. It’s a sign of his maturity and taking that next step.
It's a "false choice" because nobody was criticizing Tatum's end-of-game play

JT basically carried the team down the stretch by burning clock, drawing doubles, being strong with ball, passing to the open man and single-handedly putting Miami in rotation. I think we all agree with that.

The majority of the C's end-of-game improvement has come from JT's decision-making. The next step is for the rest to follow suit and not shoot long jumpers or drive into traffic with more than 4-5 secs on the shot clock when they are running BURN
 

HomeRunBaker

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Wouldn't another option be to run Tatum or Brown off multiple screens to try to get them open looks? I'm not complaining about the game end play here, as I thought the looks Smart got were actually quite good, but trying to think of other ways they might execute offensively outside of Tatum initiating the offense.
Miami was ready to jump those screens with a defender from each side. They were ready to swallow Tatum up as soon as he put the ball to the floor to attack. Our first order of business on these possessions is to not turn the ball over which is not a given against Miami’s pressure. The best way to avoid a turnover that likely leads to a quick basket is to get the ball into Tatum’s hands rather than have one of our non-PG’s attempt to create under these conditions.
 

Eddie Jurak

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What part is false. Should Tatum take a bad shot/commit charge (like Jaylen did) or find the open shooter? It’s human nature to be results oriented but I felt Tatum made a ton of correct decisions with the ball in the 4Q of the last two games. It’s a sign of his maturity and taking that next step.
Smart's first missed 3 came with at least 10 seconds left on the clock, his second with at least 5, his third with at least 6. Brown's offensive foul came with at least 16 on the clock. Butler got the ball back after Smart's missed layup with 18 seconds left and took the would have been go-ahead 3 with 16 left.

Maybe they should have really committed to the killing clock bit?
 

PedroKsBambino

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I think what's hard is that at 10 seconds left and a Smart open look you cannot be sure there's going to be an equal opportunity later in the shot clock. Given the time remaining in the game and the score it's a fair criticism, but I would guess Celts have told guys to shoot there.

My comment in the game thread---which I still tend to believe is true---is that after missing a shot or two Smart perhaps should have driven to the hole and tried to create contact or see if a good look opened up for someone else. But as HRB notes, mission number one is to avoid turnovers and that carries a higher one than shooting.

The Brown offensive foul was a bad idea, in that if you take it early in the clock you pretty much need to be sure you have a dunk out of it, and while I like his confidence he shouldn't have had as much. So there, I just think that's a mistake.
 

benhogan

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Smart's first missed 3 came with at least 10 seconds left on the clock, his second with at least 5, his third with at least 6. Brown's offensive foul came with at least 16 on the clock. Butler got the ball back after Smart's missed layup with 18 seconds left and took the would have been go-ahead 3 with 16 left.

Maybe they should have really committed to the killing clock bit?
98-91 1:11 left - Smart misses 3 - 12 secs left on the shot clock

No doubt. It's a 3 possession game, burning clock is much more important than taking a deep 3-pointer from your worst shooter with half the shot clock left. The math is close to turning this into a FT shooting contest if they just burn.

Agree with many that Jaylen compounded it even more with the next possession. Driving into plus defenders, Butler/Bam, with 15 secs on the shot clock & :53 left in the game isn't very clever.

The team won, but it's fair to criticize Smart/Brown's approach in those two instances.

Running BURN by manipulating shot clock vs game clock isn't some new-fangled, complex hoops play. It basically happens at the end of every quarter, at the end of every game, at every level of basketball over the last 100yrs.

Then again you have so-called hoop media experts/NBA intelligentsia (Marc Jones) not understanding the concept of burning game clock while not starting shot clock o_O