The Heat is on, ECF here we come!

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MDLzera
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The lead change or run is a cousin to this. It happens quite frequently in NBA games but reading some comments here, you would think its an issue unique to Boston.

Expecting every decision to be perfect, every shot to fall and every defensive sequence to end in a stop has to be a very tough way to watch this sport.
And on a site populated by baseball fans who are well accustomed to 3/10 being quite successful, no less
 

riboflav

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What time do you put your kid to sleep? Asking because I don't think any of us would be mad if you posted more of this after each game.

Edit: actually, what do you think each team does to adjust next game?
Haha. I appreciate that. Unfortunately, I feel like a bad dad because I do let my kid stay up and watch these games when I know most parents wouldn't.

Anyway, as for game 4, I'll have to think about it. Right now I'm consumed with my kid being home all the time and prepping my own team which probably won't even play this winter.

I can at this late hour give general thoughts off the top of my head. If I'm Spo, I'd have to test Hayward more as a scorer than as a playmaker. Stick to his teammates more and make Hayward try to score 18-22 against you knowing he might be rusty and still sore. Will that work? IDK. But you test it out to see. That said, I'd think Spo knowing Hayward is back goes more into giving Tatum fits. But can the Heat actually do this with their personnel? I'm not sure. So, maybe it's more of take away Kemba and dare him to pass out of lengthy double teams. But, man, if Kemba is able to then what?!?! You've got JB, JT, and GH with whomever 4-on-3. Yikes. Nurse never goes box and one v. Kemba if Hayward is out there. That's basketball suicide. How do you double/trap the Celtics if they have the fab 4 firing?

For the Celtics, I think being down 2-1 sucks and is obviously a major disadvantage having now to win 3 before they win 2. With a healthy Hayward from the jump, the Celtics are probably up 2-1 and maybe (just maybe) up 3-0. Hayward isn't the end all be all type of player like a Tatum but is such a tremendous advantage for a team that lacks depth and he provides a refined dynamic offensive player. Also, his length defensively as others have noted plays well with the Celtics wanting to switch almost everything (does Brad HAVE to switch everything as much as they do?? A topic for another time) and can better guard inside when necessary.
 

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If the Heat goes back to their zone with Crowder and Butler up top, wouldn’t Heyward up top as point forward with Kemba flashing to the FT line help a lot? Seems like Heyward’s size would mitigate C&B up top while Kemba in the middle gives him opps to drive, pass or shoot his favorite 15’ jumper.
 

lovegtm

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Interesting read by Hollinger, suggesting that the Heat’s 4th quarter success is due to conditioning:


Something about Hollinger’s writing makes me constantly want to punch him, but he is probably right wrt the Celtics catching a huge break with the 3 days off.
 

Steve Dillard

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Certainly explains why the Celts lose their leads in the third quarter, after than lengthy halftime.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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The Celtics third quarter struggles are fascinating to me. Some of it is real - in the playoffs - and yet the general perception is that this is an ongoing issue for this team. Furthermore, they actually won the third quarter last game but apparently that was a fluke.

Meanwhile in 72 regular season games for this season, the Celtics were number two in average points scored in the third quarter, second to the Raptors by .1 (29.5 vs 29.6). The Celtics were first in terms of third quarter net margin.

That said, in the playoffs, the Celtics were great during the opening round series with a +5 during the third quarter so their struggles have really only come against two great defensive squads in Toronto (-5.7) and Miami (-2). I am inclined to dismiss this data as a function of specific matchups and small sample size versus an actual problem. YRMV.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I do love how Duncan Robinson can catch a pass up at his shoulders and in one motion get off a three. Damn impressive how quick that goes up
It’s hard to believe that only 6 years ago he was playing for Williams College here in MA. He had to have put on 30-40 lbs since then.
 

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From the G3 gamethread. I could not let this stand:
Spoelstra is like the anti-Nurse. I find him impossible to dislike.
Really really hard to find anything to dislike. Basketball nerd who grew up in the video room and managed LBJ/Wade/Bosh I mean come on.
This is just defeatist talk. Surely we can find something.

First of all, look at how much fuckin' hair gel that guy uses! It's like he stands in the corner and Pat Riley throws products at him.

And his use of all that zone defense is just clearly a troll job, an insult. It's the coaching equivalent of flipping the double bird.

But most of all, nobody better forget the absolute screw job we got in the 2012 ECF at the hands of Spoelstra (And frankly I could argue the 2011 ECSF too). The last hurrah of the Healthy Big 4 got thoroughly fucked-over by a ref team that had Lebron-shaped stars in their eyes, in Game 7 but especially in Game 2 of that series (despite 44 points by Beast Mode Rondo). Pat Riley ponied up for some extra Tim Donaghy "consulting" fees that fortnight, so fuck him and fuck Spoelstra with a rusty railroad spike.
 

HowBoutDemSox

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From the G3 gamethread. I could not let this stand:


This is just defeatist talk. Surely we can find something.

First of all, look at how much fuckin' hair gel that guy uses! It's like he stands in the corner and Pat Riley throws products at him.

And his use of all that zone defense is just clearly a troll job, an insult. It's the coaching equivalent of flipping the double bird.

But most of all, nobody better forget the absolute screw job we got in the 2012 ECF at the hands of Spoelstra (And frankly I could argue the 2011 ECSF too). The last hurrah of the Healthy Big 4 got thoroughly fucked-over by a ref team that had Lebron-shaped stars in their eyes, in Game 7 but especially in Game 2 of that series (despite 44 points by Beast Mode Rondo). Pat Riley ponied up for some extra Tim Donaghy "consulting" fees that fortnight, so fuck him and fuck Spoelstra with a rusty railroad spike.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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The Celtics third quarter struggles are fascinating to me. Some of it is real - in the playoffs - and yet the general perception is that this is an ongoing issue for this team. Furthermore, they actually won the third quarter last game but apparently that was a fluke.

Meanwhile in 72 regular season games for this season, the Celtics were number two in average points scored in the third quarter, second to the Raptors by .1 (29.5 vs 29.6). The Celtics were first in terms of third quarter net margin.

That said, in the playoffs, the Celtics were great during the opening round series with a +5 during the third quarter so their struggles have really only come against two great defensive squads in Toronto (-5.7) and Miami (-2). I am inclined to dismiss this data as a function of specific matchups and small sample size versus an actual problem. YRMV.
It seems like a classic example of needing to find meaning and attach a narrative to something which is, as you point out, probably just small sample size.
 

chilidawg

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Yeah, Hollinger’s extremely certain tone in the face of uncertainty is one of the primary reasons for his punchability.
Exactly, so many reasons could explain what he's observing. My guess would be that the minutes the C's starters have played has more to do with it than fitness. Tatum, Brown, Kemba and Marcus are all over 539. Butler leads the Heat at 434. He does point this out, but keeps going back to the fitness thing. 3 days off will be great for the C's.
 

lovegtm

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I haven't felt this about a Celtics opponent in awhile...but I actually like/respect the Heat a lot. Their guys are incredibly professional/disciplined/hard-working, Spo is a top-notch coach, they don't have many annoying quirks, and they squeeze every drop out of their talent/scheme. If the Celtics were eliminated, I'd absolutely be rooting for them to win the title. Seeing them up close over a prolonged series has increased my respect for them a lot.
 

128

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I haven't felt this about a Celtics opponent in awhile...but I actually like/respect the Heat a lot. Their guys are incredibly professional/disciplined/hard-working, Spo is a top-notch coach, they don't have many annoying quirks, and they squeeze every drop out of their talent/scheme. If the Celtics were eliminated, I'd absolutely be rooting for them to win the title. Seeing them up close over a prolonged series has increased my respect for them a lot.
Agreed. The Heat players I probably like the least are the two former Celtics: Crowder and Olynyk (whose tentativeness on offense drove me nuts when he was in Boston).
 

Eddie Jurak

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Interesting read by Hollinger, suggesting that the Heat’s 4th quarter success is due to conditioning:


Something about Hollinger’s writing makes me constantly want to punch him, but he is probably right wrt the Celtics catching a huge break with the 3 days off.
A related issue could be that the Celtics are riding their starters more.
 

Jimbodandy

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I haven't felt this about a Celtics opponent in awhile...but I actually like/respect the Heat a lot. Their guys are incredibly professional/disciplined/hard-working, Spo is a top-notch coach, they don't have many annoying quirks, and they squeeze every drop out of their talent/scheme. If the Celtics were eliminated, I'd absolutely be rooting for them to win the title. Seeing them up close over a prolonged series has increased my respect for them a lot.
I'd feel the same way if it weren't for a complete contempt for Pat Riley. Likeable team up to and including the coach. I'd watch the finals only because I hate the Lakers more.
 

PedroKsBambino

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I haven't felt this about a Celtics opponent in awhile...but I actually like/respect the Heat a lot. Their guys are incredibly professional/disciplined/hard-working, Spo is a top-notch coach, they don't have many annoying quirks, and they squeeze every drop out of their talent/scheme. If the Celtics were eliminated, I'd absolutely be rooting for them to win the title. Seeing them up close over a prolonged series has increased my respect for them a lot.
I agree, with only caveat for players/team is there's a slight bit of the Pat Riley sneak in extra physical contact thing...we saw Crowder with a cheap shot last game, and someone else pushed Tatum on a breakaway where there was no realistic play on the ball. They are chippier on that than Celts----but not nearly as bad as Toronto.

otherwise, it's a likeable team.
 

BillMuellerFanClub

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I don't have the nba app, but someone on reddit posted this morning that in the game preview the officials for Wednesday's matchup include, you guessed it, Scott Foster and Tony Brothers. Let's hope the league has the fix in for a more drawn out ECF and the Celtics are the benefactors.
 

slamminsammya

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Is there any evidence that bad referees favor one team over another in a given game? Theoretically a randomly bad referee should not confer any specific advantage.

And I will add as a matter of personal taste I roll my eyes at the constant "the league wants X outcome!!!" comments that attend every NBA discussion.
 

PedroKsBambino

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It's an unknowable, since we have no way to know the motives of a ref or test a hypothesis. Worth noting that the NBA has had officials caught betting on games. There also is lots of evidence of referees across sports favoring home teams---which shows that unconscious bias exists in calls and impacts game outcomes. That is not quite the same as "the NBA wants x and y to win" but those are pieces of why people do not feel it is 100% certain each game provides a level opportunity for the teams.
 

BillMuellerFanClub

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Is there any evidence that bad referees favor one team over another in a given game? Theoretically a randomly bad referee should not confer any specific advantage.

And I will add as a matter of personal taste I roll my eyes at the constant "the league wants X outcome!!!" comments that attend every NBA discussion.
If you've watched high-stakes Celtics games for the last 4 years, you'd know that this isn't a purely scientific position on the topic - there's a lot of bias and emotion involved. In the last two playoffs combined, the Celtics are 2-11 in games ref'd by Scott Foster. Individual ref statistics put Scott Foster at or near the top of average number fouls called per 48 and percentage of fouls called in the game.

Where there's smoke there's fire.
 

benhogan

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Yeah, he mentions that as well. They don't really have a choice, and I'm glad that Brad's not being doctrinaire about it, but they really need Hayward.

Oddly enough, the best lineup in the postseason with at least 20 minutes together is Brown, Smart, Tatum, Walker and Enes Kanter. That grouping +15 in 20 minutes. They have an offensive rating 140, and a surprisingly (considering Kanter is on the floor) competitive defensive rating of 105.1. This lineup logged most of their minutes against Joel Embiid and the 76ers, with a small handful coming in Games 2 and 3 against the Heat.

Also, there is a place for Enes Kanter in the postseason. It’s probably not against pick-and-pop bigs like Serge Ibaka or Kelly Olynyk, or against crafty pick-and-roll ballhandlers like Goran Dragic, but there are spots. When Dragic is off the floor is the sweet spot. And, if Boston should advance, Kanter should have a role against either the Los Angeles Lakers or Denver Nuggets and their backup big men.



We were pretty sure that "playoff/situational Kanter" was very playable...Certainly didn't realize he'd be this good. Enes just gets the worst rep for a vet that's intelligent, a good teammate and cheap.
 

chilidawg

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Oddly enough, the best lineup in the postseason with at least 20 minutes together is Brown, Smart, Tatum, Walker and Enes Kanter. That grouping +15 in 20 minutes. They have an offensive rating 140, and a surprisingly (considering Kanter is on the floor) competitive defensive rating of 105.1. This lineup logged most of their minutes against Joel Embiid and the 76ers, with a small handful coming in Games 2 and 3 against the Heat.

Also, there is a place for Enes Kanter in the postseason. It’s probably not against pick-and-pop bigs like Serge Ibaka or Kelly Olynyk, or against crafty pick-and-roll ballhandlers like Goran Dragic, but there are spots. When Dragic is off the floor is the sweet spot. And, if Boston should advance, Kanter should have a role against either the Los Angeles Lakers or Denver Nuggets and their backup big men.



We were pretty sure that "playoff/situational Kanter" was very playable...Certainly didn't realize he'd be this good. Enes just gets the worst rep for a vet that's intelligent, a good teammate and cheap.
He's better than Semi!

He's a guy with situational value, that's about it.
 

Jimbodandy

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Oddly enough, the best lineup in the postseason with at least 20 minutes together is Brown, Smart, Tatum, Walker and Enes Kanter. That grouping +15 in 20 minutes. They have an offensive rating 140, and a surprisingly (considering Kanter is on the floor) competitive defensive rating of 105.1. This lineup logged most of their minutes against Joel Embiid and the 76ers, with a small handful coming in Games 2 and 3 against the Heat.

Also, there is a place for Enes Kanter in the postseason. It’s probably not against pick-and-pop bigs like Serge Ibaka or Kelly Olynyk, or against crafty pick-and-roll ballhandlers like Goran Dragic, but there are spots. When Dragic is off the floor is the sweet spot. And, if Boston should advance, Kanter should have a role against either the Los Angeles Lakers or Denver Nuggets and their backup big men.



We were pretty sure that "playoff/situational Kanter" was very playable...Certainly didn't realize he'd be this good. Enes just gets the worst rep for a vet that's intelligent, a good teammate and cheap.
Somewhere Aaron Baynes weeps.
 

Silverdude2167

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Oddly enough, the best lineup in the postseason with at least 20 minutes together is Brown, Smart, Tatum, Walker and Enes Kanter. That grouping +15 in 20 minutes. They have an offensive rating 140, and a surprisingly (considering Kanter is on the floor) competitive defensive rating of 105.1. This lineup logged most of their minutes against Joel Embiid and the 76ers, with a small handful coming in Games 2 and 3 against the Heat.

Also, there is a place for Enes Kanter in the postseason. It’s probably not against pick-and-pop bigs like Serge Ibaka or Kelly Olynyk, or against crafty pick-and-roll ballhandlers like Goran Dragic, but there are spots. When Dragic is off the floor is the sweet spot. And, if Boston should advance, Kanter should have a role against either the Los Angeles Lakers or Denver Nuggets and their backup big men.



We were pretty sure that "playoff/situational Kanter" was very playable...Certainly didn't realize he'd be this good. Enes just gets the worst rep for a vet that's intelligent, a good teammate and cheap.
Player who does certain things well and other things poorly when used in the correct matchups by a good coach looks good...more at 11.
 

djbayko

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I haven't felt this about a Celtics opponent in awhile...but I actually like/respect the Heat a lot. Their guys are incredibly professional/disciplined/hard-working, Spo is a top-notch coach, they don't have many annoying quirks, and they squeeze every drop out of their talent/scheme. If the Celtics were eliminated, I'd absolutely be rooting for them to win the title. Seeing them up close over a prolonged series has increased my respect for them a lot.
Yeah, right before Game 1 I joked that while I like the Heat, I’d probably end up hating half the team by the end of the playoff series because that always seems to happen. But I just can’t see that happening yet, and I can usually sense the hate early on.

Not a big fan of DuncanRobinson but that’s just because he won’t miss dammit.
 

lovegtm

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Yeah, right before Game 1 I joked that while I like the Heat, I’d probably end up hating half the team by the end of the playoff series because that always seems to happen. But I just can’t see that happening yet, and I can usually sense the hate early on.

Not a big fan of DuncanRobinson but that’s just because he won’t miss dammit.
Yeah, this is exactly what I was getting at. If anything, I mildly disliked them prior to the series and have had my feelings change. This has decidedly not been the case with Philly, Toronto, Milwaukee, and Cleveland the past few years.
 

CoffeeNerdness

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The perception of this team's third quarter performance- correctly or incorrectly- is clearly a hangover from the Milwaukee series where they went -21, -9, -10, and -5 in the third quarters of the four games they lost. The Bucks averaged 35 points in those quarters.
 

tims4wins

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The perception of this team's third quarter performance- correctly or incorrectly- is clearly a hangover from the Milwaukee series where they went -21, -9, -10, and -5 in the third quarters of the four games they lost. The Bucks averaged 35 points in those quarters.
They got outscored in the 3rd quarter of at least the first 6 games of the Toronto series. I think maybe every game against Philly too. It's not unearned.
 

tims4wins

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The bigger point is probably that the performance last year was able to skew your perception to such a large degree, which is interesting in and of itself, epistemologically.
Personally I don't think I watched a minute of the Milwaukee series last year. I was checked out. I've been far more engaged this year.
 

Buster Olney the Lonely

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Several of the third quarter margins in the Toronto series were really close. I can't get stressed out about losing a quarter by 2 or 3 points.

game 1, 3rd quarter: -2
game 2, 3rd quarter: -10
game 3, 3rd quarter: -6
game 4, 3rd quarter: -8
game 5, 3rd quarter: -3
game 6, 3rd quarter: +4
game 7, 3rd quarter: -3
 

Bergs

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They're waiting for Tony Brothers to let them know what nights work best for him.
I don't have the nba app, but someone on reddit posted this morning that in the game preview the officials for Wednesday's matchup include, you guessed it, Scott Foster and Tony Brothers. Let's hope the league has the fix in for a more drawn out ECF and the Celtics are the benefactors.
Nailed it!