Celtics vs. Heat, Round 3 Discussion

Who you got?


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Mooch

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I think that it's going to be pretty simple. With all of the switching and attention the Heat will put on the Jays, it's going to come down to guys like Smart, Grant and Horford taking advantage of open threes.
 

tims4wins

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I think that it's going to be pretty simple. With all of the switching and attention the Heat will put on the Jays, it's going to come down to guys like Smart, Grant and Horford taking advantage of open threes.
Per the KOC article, Miami allows the highest % of FGAs from 3 in the league, even more than the Bucks. So we should probably expect some game to game variance like we saw in the Bucks series. Hopefully the Celts are a little more consistent.
 

PedroKsBambino

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For the first time this series, the Celts can plan to just man up on defense and switch everything, basically playing to their strengths. When they did this against MIL, GA got his, but the rest of their team pretty much had zilch. I don't see anyone on MIA who is in GA's league.
To the earlier question about defense, this is my guess---they largely play it straight and rotate guys on Butler to give him different looks, with some Smart, some Grant, and a lot of Jaylen.

Butler is very tough, and part of what makes him tough is his ability to draw fouls. Celtics are very good at limiting fouls and whether they can do so vs him will be pretty key, because Miami is short on shot-making if Butler isn't able to get into the mid-20s on points, imo. What they have that Milwaukee didn't is depth of threats----and those guys beyond Butler/Herro (Strus, Lowry if healthy, Bam, Oladipo) will get some points. Butler, and to a lesser degree Herro, are the guys who can beat you one on one.
 

Mooch

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Per the KOC article, Miami allows the highest % of FGAs from 3 in the league, even more than the Bucks. So we should probably expect some game to game variance like we saw in the Bucks series. Hopefully the Celts are a little more consistent.
They also allowed teams to shoot 38% from 3 in the regular season. If they do this against the Celtics, this will be a short series.
 

Mooch

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To the earlier question about defense, this is my guess---they largely play it straight and rotate guys on Butler to give him different looks, with some Smart, some Grant, and a lot of Jaylen.

Butler is very tough, and part of what makes him tough is his ability to draw fouls. Celtics are very good at limiting fouls and whether they can do so vs him will be pretty key, because Miami is short on shot-making if Butler isn't able to get into the mid-20s on points, imo. What they have that Milwaukee didn't is depth of threats----and those guys beyond Butler/Herro (Strus, Lowry if healthy, Bam, Oladipo) will get some points. Butler, and to a lesser degree Herro, are the guys who can beat you one on one.
True, but we also need to remember this about Jimmy Butler: Dude has a LOT of miles on him. You start getting him into the deep water of a physical series with the Celtics wing strength and he may start to wear down after the first few games.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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I went with Heat in 7 because I really worry about having to jump into the every-other-day schedule with Rob and Marcus hurting, and Al of a certain age. Wish a game could get rained out.

I should add... it's HUGE that Rob wasn't needed in Game 7 against the Bucks.

At least Ramadan's over...
 

Kliq

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I can't help but think that the matchup against Miami will be easier than the matchup against Milwaukee.

From the most simplistic point of view, one team has the most unstoppable, dominant player in the world and the other does not. The matchups are much more complicated than that, but it's hard to get that concerned about stopping Jimmy Butler when the Celtics just got through Giannis.

The difference between the two teams is that Miami's supporting cast in theory is much more dependable than Milwaukee's, at least they should be better than the non-Giannis/Holiday crew that played against Boston. They have much more reliable shooters and guys that have shown the ability to score 20+ points on any given night. Miami will certainly need that, because Butler to me is not someone that is going to be able to get 30+ every night against this defense.

Miami's true ability remains somewhat of a mystery to me. They got the #1 seed in a very competitive conference, which should show that they are quite good. They dusted Atlanta and Philadelphia to cruise to the ECF, but at the same time those teams were not particularly good and they got incredible luck with Embiid picking up an injury that turned the Philly series almost into a bye into the next round. I have not been impressed by their offense in the post-season; they seem to run a clogged toilet offense that is anchored by two non-shooters in Butler and Bam.

Defensively they feel formidable, and Bam is a truly incredible defensive player that should give our best players fits. This team bottled up Trae Young and James Harden so far. Young is small and Harden is slow, so maybe that isn't that impressive. Tatum (and Brown) are neither small or slow, and should be a much more difficult test. My guess is Miami really needs to muck things up, play ugly, defensive-forced basketball, and hope that they can generate enough free throws and outside shooting from role players to make a difference.

I just think the Celtics are super-good and a tough matchup for Miami. It's hard to beat a team they have:

1. One of the very top offensive players in the league, someone that can score at all three levels, pass and abuse mismatches.
2. Play absolutely no weak defenders; with the exception of PP cameos.
3. Play no non-shooters, outside of Theis/TL minutes.

When you have a great individual player and surround them with lineups full of shooters and ace defenders, it is really hard to lose. Milwaukee came very close and that was really only because Giannis is an alien.
 

benhogan

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I'm going to push back on this--by "mismatch", I mean "forces help/significant attention when he gets the ball". Bam Adebayo is an extremely good basketball player, but he's not that. The Celtics can mostly defend him straight up with current personnel, particularly relative to someone like Giannis or Durant or Kyrie.

Again, people really have PTSD from when he was running P&R against Kemba, with Theis as the C's best center, and Jaylen/Jayson being significantly weaker/younger.

EDIT: don't take my word for it; watch the below, and ask yourself how much of that will be available vs Boston:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55Npsec7qT8
agreed

Horford/Grant can guard Bam and the rest of the Celtic ballhawks can take care of the perimeter threats.

Game 1 is a coin toss, but this could be a Gentleman's sweep
 

Cesar Crespo

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I'll make the bold prediction that posters will complain about the refs, a lot. At least if they lose any games.
 

lovegtm

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What is the defensive approach given that Miami has better outside shooting? Do you try to cover Butler singly and without help and let him get his 40 to avoid him setting up shooters?
Jimmy Butler is a very good player, but he is not in the same universe as Giannis or Durant as a scorer. You absolutely cover him singly, and he's not getting 40 against the Celtics' defenders barring unsustainably hot shooting.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Jimmy Butler is a very good player, but he is not in the same universe as Giannis or Durant as a scorer. You absolutely cover him singly, and he's not getting 40 against the Celtics' defenders barring unsustainably hot shooting.
Or he gets to the line 18 times.
 

Deathofthebambino

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I predict that Miami will struggle to score 100+ points in more than one game in this series.

It comes down to the Celtics offense. Use Al and Grant to drag Bam out of the lane on defense, and just relentlessly hunt Herro/Robinson, etc. If they want to take away Tatum with Butler (good luck with that), I see Jaylen, and Smart for the matter just punishing them on drive after drive after drive.

If the C's shoot well, this isn't even close.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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I'm going to push back on this--by "mismatch", I mean "forces help/significant attention when he gets the ball". Bam Adebayo is an extremely good basketball player, but he's not that. The Celtics can mostly defend him straight up with current personnel, particularly relative to someone like Giannis or Durant or Kyrie.

Again, people really have PTSD from when he was running P&R against Kemba, with Theis as the C's best center, and Jaylen/Jayson being significantly weaker/younger.
So I hear what you say, particularly since ATL and PHI without a healthy Embiid aren't very good defensively. But I did go back and watch the highlights of the MIA-BOS game from March (linked below) and a couple of things stood out / I remembered.
  • The Cs have had problems with guarding Bam in the PnR. (If my memory serves me, the Cs have had a horrible time defending the Bam-Butler PnR in particular). In the highlights, you'll see that a few times. The Cs are spread out to guard shooters, and Bam either has the open shot or an easy roll to convert. Will be interesting to see what Ime does to defend this.
  • Kyle Lowry killed the Cs on a few threes going to his left. I presume that will be in bold on the scouting report so they can figure that out like the figured out Jrue's left hand.
  • Strus had two blocked shots and a big charge down the stretch so again, I think he's playing better defense than Robinson was.
  • The Cs can get easy buckets with ball movement. Their problem on offense came when the ball stagnated.
Also Butler is shooting 36% from 3P during the playoffs but that probably has at least a little to do with who he was being guarded by. Obviously if Butler can hit 36% from 3P against BOS, that's a bigger problem.

I think MIA will cause problems for BOS that they didn't have against MIL or BRK since MIA has more than two players who can consistently put the ball into the basket. I don't think they are insurmountable but I do think MIA will be tougher than MIL.

And hopefully, BOS has learned that it can't have extended lapses like it did against MIL.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8CwqSyMgRk
 

Eddie Jurak

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If Timelord is back, healthy, and not tooo rusty, this could be a quick series. This is a much better match-up for him than the Bucks series. He can play off PJ Tucker in his help defender role and really make things difficult for Jimmy, Bam, etc.
Realistically speaking, I think it is more likely that Rob doesn't play a single minute in the series than it is that he is back "healthy and not too rusty." Hoefully I am wrong but until he gets on the floor I am skeptical that he'll be back and we saw from before he was hurt that there was plenty of rust there.
 

SoxFanInPdx

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Celt's in 7. This will be another physical series with some genuinely questionable physicality that will border on dirty. A 90's throwback is what I see.
 

Kliq

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Miami came out ahead in the bubble because they were mentally tougher than the Celtics, part of which had to do with the unique experience of the bubble itself. I think this Celtics team is way, way better than that team. Miami is arguably better as well, but the parameters will be very different.

Lowry doesn't scare me at all; he looks TOAST and might not even play in Game 1. Maybe he revives himself to be a factor later in the series, but I'm doubtful of it.

Herro and his alligator arms are getting played right off the floor by the J's.

Butler bossed Tatum around in the bubble. But that was a very different Tatum. A Tatum that just got past Durant and Giannis is going to be playing with previously-unseen levels of confidence; I think it's going to be a bloodbath.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Giannis’ high was 15 in the series and only 6 yesterday, only 2 in the final 38 minutes. I think the Celts will be ok in this aspect.
I was mostly playing but there will be a game or two where Butler has 10+ FTA. I'm not entirely sure the Celtics lose if Butler scores 40+ anyway.
 

reggiecleveland

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Despite some bad calls. I really like that the refs have let the players play more physical basketball so far in the playoffs. As great as Giannis is the Celtics were clearly the better team. Switch the luck (bad call) fluky Giannis 3 and the series is 5 or 6 games. The Buck's supporting cast just didn't deliver. Lopez was scoring for about a quarter and the Cs were in trouble.

The exciting thing for me is this Heat-Celtics matchup has an 80s Sixers/Celtics matchup vibe. Sure Doc and Larry were stars, but the games would rely on two other guys stepping up, and coaches adjusting on the fly. There will be a lot of Xs and Os here, and chances for guys to shine. I like the Cs chances due to the play of Pritchard and Grant. I hope Pritchard annoys Heat fans like Duncan Robinson annoyed me in the bubble series.
 

Kliq

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Despite some bad calls. I really like that the refs have let the players play more physical basketball so far in the playoffs. As great as Giannis is the Celtics were clearly the better team. Switch the luck (bad call) fluky Giannis 3 and the series is 5 or 6 games. The Buck's supporting cast just didn't deliver. Lopez was scoring for about a quarter and the Cs were in trouble.

The exciting thing for me is this Heat-Celtics matchup has an 80s Sixers/Celtics matchup vibe. Sure Doc and Larry were stars, but the games would rely on two other guys stepping up, and coaches adjusting on the fly. There will be a lot of Xs and Os here, and chances for guys to shine. I like the Cs chances due to the play of Pritchard and Grant. I hope Pritchard annoys Heat fans like Duncan Robinson annoyed me in the bubble series.
One can understand the Pritchard/Robinson comps, but Grant Williams is absolutely the "How the fuck is this guy beating us?" guy to other fanbases.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Who hasn't had a "game" yet?

Jaylen
Smart
TL
PP
White

Like the Al Horford game or the Grant Williams game.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Jaylen scored 25 in the first half of game 2...
That's fair. I guess it says something when it doesn't really shock me when Jaylen has 25 in a half though. He finished with 30 in 38 minutes.

I think he has a 40+ point game in him vs Miami.
 

tims4wins

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This may be a nothingburger, but in addition to Jaylen's shaky handles the last two games, he has also missed 6 free throws (5 for 11). Wonder if there is something going on there. Hopefully not. Overall for the playoffs he is at 76.8% vs. 75.8% for the regular season, so perhaps it was just regression to the mean. But he hasn't looked all that confident at the line the last two games.
 

Deathofthebambino

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This may be a nothingburger, but in addition to Jaylen's shaky handles the last two games, he has also missed 6 free throws (5 for 11). Wonder if there is something going on there. Hopefully not. Overall for the playoffs he is at 76.8% vs. 75.8% for the regular season, so perhaps it was just regression to the mean. But he hasn't looked all that confident at the line the last two games.
Is there any way to figure out shooting percentage on the first free throw versus the 2nd? I've been saying for a very long time, Jaylen is a mess on his first free throw (usually front rims it) and then almost always buries the 2nd. If someone told me he shot 60% on the 1st free throw, and 90% on the 2nd, I'd believe it without hesitation.

And if so, that makes it simple Jaylen. Pretend it's the 2nd free throw (just kidding, I try to play golf that way, pretend every swing is the same as that layup you just flush every fucking time, doesn't work).
 

Cesar Crespo

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Seems Jaylen is always missing And 1s but not sure if that's actually the case or not. Supports the "he's a miss on the first FT" theory though.
 

tims4wins

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Is there any way to figure out shooting percentage on the first free throw versus the 2nd? I've been saying for a very long time, Jaylen is a mess on his first free throw (usually front rims it) and then almost always buries the 2nd. If someone told me he shot 60% on the 1st free throw, and 90% on the 2nd, I'd believe it without hesitation.

And if so, that makes it simple Jaylen. Pretend it's the 2nd free throw (just kidding, I try to play golf that way, pretend every swing is the same as that layup you just flush every fucking time, doesn't work).
In game 7 he missed the first of two, made the second, and then his last two misses were 0-1 each (I think on and-ones). Would you consider an and-one to be the first or the second free throw? If you consider it to be like the first free throw, then your theory holds water.

In game 6, his misses were an and-one, then a pair of free throws late in the game. He went 2-2 from the line earlier in the game and had another 2-2 after the missed and-one for 4-7 overall in game 6.
 

dhellers

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Winning Game 1 is absolutely critical for having a chance at a sweep. In fact, if they let G1 slip away I’d have to say there’s just no way you can expect a sweep, no matter what they do the rest of the way. Of course, even if they pull it out Tuesday night, they would still have to bring it in G2 and win that to even think they could sweep the series. A split in Miami might feel like a good result but if it’s a sweep you’re after you just have to take both games - really there isn’t a path without doing that.
Let me offer an alternative analysis to must win game 1. BTW: I assume that chance at a sweep means "win the next 4"

1) Game 1 feels like a schedule loss. Miami is rested and disciplined, Boston is banged up and coming off an emotional high
2) Boston has several players who could benefit from a few extra days off. In particular
AH : his efficiency, especially on the offensive end, seems to be much better the fewer his minutes
TL: he seems to be someone who is more likely to get hurt the further he is from 100% health.
MS: the "wolverine" has great recuperative powers, until he doesn't

Thus: does it make sense to rest these 3? Let DW, PP, DT ... and even Neismith .. get some real minutes. Your odds of winning game 1 drop, but they weren't great. And who knows, the limited minutes of these guys means they are not banged up. They might pull off a minor miracle.

And the benefit is for the rest of the series, especially game 2, you have a AH,TL, and MS at improved efficiency. If you believe ( I do!) that a healthy celtics team is Just Better than the Heat, that should increase the odds of winning, probably in 6.

I am not sure I buy the above argument, but I can't reject it. I agree with the notion that Miami is going to pull a page from the 80s and play a punishing physical game. If so, the benefits of 2 days of recuperation (pre game 1) might disappear by game 3.

Perhaps a tight cap on minutes in Game 1-- they all come off the bench?
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Is there any way to figure out shooting percentage on the first free throw versus the 2nd? I've been saying for a very long time, Jaylen is a mess on his first free throw (usually front rims it) and then almost always buries the 2nd. If someone told me he shot 60% on the 1st free throw, and 90% on the 2nd, I'd believe it without hesitation.

And if so, that makes it simple Jaylen. Pretend it's the 2nd free throw (just kidding, I try to play golf that way, pretend every swing is the same as that layup you just flush every fucking time, doesn't work).
It's called the calibration effect - the same effect that makes subsequent dart throws more accurate than the first. So yes, it's very common for people to be more accurate on the second FT as opposed to the first. Here's a 2019 paper that discusses this: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ashwin-Phatak/publication/339539161_Better_with_each_throw-a_study_on_calibration_and_warm-up_decrement_of_real-time_consecutive_basketball_free_throws_in_elite_NBA_athletesMit_jedem_Wurf_besser_-_eine_Studie_zur_Kalibrierung_und_anfang/links/5e58edb34585152ce8f5199e/Better-with-each-throw-a-study-on-calibration-and-warm-up-decrement-of-real-time-consecutive-basketball-free-throws-in-elite-NBA-athletesMit-jedem-Wurf-besser-eine-Studie-zur-Kalibrierung-und-anfaen.pdf?origin=publication_detail
 

Cesar Crespo

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Let me offer an alternative analysis to must win game 1. BTW: I assume that chance at a sweep means "win the next 4"

1) Game 1 feels like a schedule loss. Miami is rested and disciplined, Boston is banged up and coming off an emotional high
2) Boston has several players who could benefit from a few extra days off. In particular
AH : his efficiency, especially on the offensive end, seems to be much better the fewer his minutes
TL: he seems to be someone who is more likely to get hurt the further he is from 100% health.
MS: the "wolverine" has great recuperative powers, until he doesn't

Thus: does it make sense to rest these 3? Let DW, PP, DT ... and even Neismith .. get some real minutes. Your odds of winning game 1 drop, but they weren't great. And who knows, the limited minutes of these guys means they are not banged up. They might pull off a minor miracle.

And the benefit is for the rest of the series, especially game 2, you have a AH,TL, and MS at improved efficiency. If you believe ( I do!) that a healthy celtics team is Just Better than the Heat, that should increase the odds of winning, probably in 6.

I am not sure I buy the above argument, but I can't reject it. I agree with the notion that Miami is going to pull a page from the 80s and play a punishing physical game. If so, the benefits of 2 days of recuperation (pre game 1) might disappear by game 3.

Perhaps a tight cap on minutes in Game 1-- they all come off the bench?
No. It's the playoffs. If the C's don't take game 1, they should make the Heat earn it. Schedule losses aren't always losses.
 

reggiecleveland

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Yeah if anybody can figure out a way to coach players to be better at making the first FT PM it to me. It is not worth insane amounts of money or anything, I just want to know about it.
 

Deathofthebambino

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I completely buy that effect. Perhaps it's because I'm a massive Jaylen fanboy and pay very close attention to everything he does, but it seems to me that he is an outlier to the extreme with it. I could be completely wrong, and definitely don't have the time to check every box score to come up with the numbers, but he seems to have always been a pretty terrible free throw shooter on the 1st ones (and the one and ones), and as good as anyone at the second free throw.
 

lovegtm

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So I hear what you say, particularly since ATL and PHI without a healthy Embiid aren't very good defensively. But I did go back and watch the highlights of the MIA-BOS game from March (linked below) and a couple of things stood out / I remembered.
  • The Cs have had problems with guarding Bam in the PnR. (If my memory serves me, the Cs have had a horrible time defending the Bam-Butler PnR in particular). In the highlights, you'll see that a few times. The Cs are spread out to guard shooters, and Bam either has the open shot or an easy roll to convert. Will be interesting to see what Ime does to defend this.
  • Kyle Lowry killed the Cs on a few threes going to his left. I presume that will be in bold on the scouting report so they can figure that out like the figured out Jrue's left hand.
  • Strus had two blocked shots and a big charge down the stretch so again, I think he's playing better defense than Robinson was.
  • The Cs can get easy buckets with ball movement. Their problem on offense came when the ball stagnated.
Also Butler is shooting 36% from 3P during the playoffs but that probably has at least a little to do with who he was being guarded by. Obviously if Butler can hit 36% from 3P against BOS, that's a bigger problem.

I think MIA will cause problems for BOS that they didn't have against MIL or BRK since MIA has more than two players who can consistently put the ball into the basket. I don't think they are insurmountable but I do think MIA will be tougher than MIL.

And hopefully, BOS has learned that it can't have extended lapses like it did against MIL.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8CwqSyMgRk
Hmm, watching those clips again now.

The defense looks nearly unrecognizable relative to how the Celtics schemed vs Brooklyn and Milwaukee, and I expect we'll see a LOT more switching. For whatever reason, the Celtics experimented a lot with drop coverage there, probably due to not having their identity yet post-TL injury.

To answer your question as to how the Celtics defend the roll: I expect switching more to be the base adjustment when it's a Butler-Bam PnR, since that lets the Cs get Tatum or Brown or Smart or Grant onto Bam. If the Heat want to grind their offense down to force post touches to him after that switch, the Cs can shade help that way, as they've done against Durant and Giannis successfully.
 
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DJnVa

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Who hasn't had a "game" yet?

Jaylen
Smart
TL
PP
White

Like the Al Horford game or the Grant Williams game.
This needs to be on a sliding scale--PP's "game" is gonna be much different than JB or Marcus. One could argue that 14 points in 17 minutes, with 4/6 from three in a Game 7, is that game for a guy like PP.
 

RSN Diaspora

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Full schedule is out:

Game 1: Tuesday, May 17 in Miami; 8 p.m. pregame/8:30 tip
Game 2: Thursday, May 19 in Miami; 8 p.m. pregame/8:30 tip
Game 3: Saturday, May 21 at TD Garden; 8 p.m. pregame/8:30 tip
Game 4: Monday, May 23 at TD Garden; 8 p.m. pregame/8:30 tip
Game 5 (if necessary): Wednesday, May 25 in Miami; 8 p.m. pregame/8:30 tip
Game 6 (if necessary): Friday, May 27 at TD Garden; 8 p.m. pm pregame/8:30 tip
Game 7 (if necessary): Sunday, May 29 in Miami; 8 p.m. pregame/8:30 tip
 

radsoxfan

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Midfoot scary at first as you immediately think of Lisfranc. But if MRI is clean I wouldn’t be too concerned about that…

“sore foot”, but hopefully good to go tomorrow.
 

joe dokes

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Full schedule is out:

Game 1: Tuesday, May 17 in Miami; 8 p.m. pregame/8:30 tip
Game 2: Thursday, May 19 in Miami; 8 p.m. pregame/8:30 tip
Game 3: Saturday, May 21 at TD Garden; 8 p.m. pregame/8:30 tip
Game 4: Monday, May 23 at TD Garden; 8 p.m. pregame/8:30 tip
Game 5 (if necessary): Wednesday, May 25 in Miami; 8 p.m. pregame/8:30 tip
Game 6 (if necessary): Friday, May 27 at TD Garden; 8 p.m. pm pregame/8:30 tip
Game 7 (if necessary): Sunday, May 29 in Miami; 8 p.m. pregame/8:30 tip
What a grind. Sometimes we complain about too much time between games "for TV." But 7 games in 13 days seems like something that doesn't happen in the regular season.