Well, the Miami Heat lost to the Boston Celtics in game 2.
From poor defense to awkward shot selection to wild Celtic runs, I cover it all here…
So here are some takeaways from this one…
#1: Oh, so a run happened.
60 to 21. When hearing those numbers, you may be thinking, what do those numbers mean? But if you watched the first half of Heat-Celtics, you already know what that is: the Celtics went on a run. A big run. The offense from Boston was pretty simple, which I’ll talk about next, but the disposition of the Heat was very poor. Late on close-outs, everywhere on rotations, and just short on jumpers on the offensive end. Jayson Tatum got going, Jaylen Brown contributed when Tatum went to the bench after his second foul, and the role players wouldn’t miss. 60 to 21. That’s a hard number to look past when evaluating a game, which is why that’s where we had to start.
#2: The Celtics three point shooting early, coming from the Heat’s game 1 nightmares.
Now peeling back some layers on what was happening, how were the Celtics shooting at this insane level in the first half including 12 triples? Well, other than my points about lazy rotations and close-outs, they were a bit scarred from the first half of game 1 it seemed. By that I mean, the Celtics almost set a postseason record in game 1 with 42 paint points, due to Miami overplaying the perimeter so an easy slip was there for Boston. Now in this game, the Heat weren’t allowing that to happen. Off-ball switches would occur, a mismatch on the block is found, and the Heat have already sent that weak side guy down. Eliminate those paint points and you’re in good shape, right? Wrong. Swing, swing, three was the Celtics’ consistent process due to that over-helping, sparking that run that I discussed previously. Plus, there’s the element of a team just not missing from deep.
#3: The death of the primary action for the Heat’s offense.
Sometimes life is simple for the Miami Heat on the offensive side of the ball. Tyler Herro-Bam Adebayo as shown against Philly: bucket. Jimmy Butler straight line drive ball as shown in game 1 against Boston: bucket. But how about when those initial options or sets are taken away? That’s what turned on the scoring end for the Heat upon that early run. Something was run, the help was there, and the 3 others on the floor for Miami stood and watched. And well, if there’s any team to not do that, it’s the Heat. They generate all of their looks off constant movement, backside screening and actions, and tons of added layers. It can be slightly labeled as not making shots that they regularly would, but there’s no doubt that the process was off. Adjustment time.
#4: The Heat need Bam Adebayo in this final four.
Aside from this game tonight, the Heat’s blueprint is clear. Jimmy Butler will be Jimmy Butler most nights. Tyler Herro can give that boost against drop when the time is right. Role players can shoot above their heads enough in these playoffs. Yet, more than anything, this team needs Bam Adebayo in this series: the offensive version. Coming from somebody that values Adebayo’s defense as much as you can, there just comes a point where the second best player must be just that. With the ball in his hands, utilizing a face-up attack or letting the jumper fly. At this stage, the post game isn’t an option in my opinion. Watching the Celtics switch Jaylen Brown onto him and the unwillingness to get a deal seal is obvious. He has a home base, but he doesn’t go to it enough in these moments. It should also be noted that Bam is always the first person that is looked toward in games like this, which isn’t ideal since he isn’t the reason they lost. But it’s clear to win this series, they’re going to need a serviceable offensive version of himself.
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#5: Big picture time: chill.
I’ve talked enough about the negatives in this game 2, so now it’s time for some perspective. In all honesty, I wouldn’t say there’s a ton to be over worried about with this series as a whole. It’s 1-1 in the series, and there are clear adjustments that must be made, but this was kinda the expectation on this series. This didn’t have a 2-0, 2-2 feel to it where both teams protect home court. Both of these teams are inconsistent on the offensive end with coaches who are throwing counter punches in both directions. Anything can happen, home crowd or not. Now it’s time for the Heat to head up to Boston to get one of these themselves. So I’ll end this piece with the word I previously mentioned: chill.
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