The Eastern Finals are balanced, Boston delivered a true demonstration of power in Game 2. The recipe for success can be traced back to the return of two top performers – Heat, on the other hand, threatens to lose one. The findings.
Celtic’s empire strikes back with points God Smart!
Head coach Ime Udoka must have been relieved when both Marcus Smart and Al Horford got clearing for match 2 a few hours before the tip-off. His main adjustment after the bankruptcy in the beginning came quite naturally: “It was great to get the veterans and their calming effect back. It definitely helped.”
Both Smart and Horford made the Celtics back to the almost invincible empire that has spread fear and horror in the regular season since the turn of the year. Boston won the final 18 minutes of the first half 62:27, by which time the game was actually already over. “They were trying to embarrass us. And they embarrassed us,” Jimmy Butler summed up the event.
With all the good moves in the first half, Smart somehow had a finger in the pie. Jayson Tatum was the top scorer (27 points) in the 127: 102 blowout, but Smart was tonight’s excellent figure both defensively and offensively.
Let’s start with offensive: Smart played the role of playmaker brilliantly, giving the team the calming effect that Udoka mentioned. The revenue problem from Game 1 was gone, but Smart put his teammates in the spotlight with some gems as in this example right at the beginning. His 12 assists were offset by just one loss of the ball.
Meanwhile, it seemed like a typically smart game: excellent defense, strong playmaking, but hair-raising shooting. In the first half, he was off the field at 2/11, and only caught fire in the third and fourth quarters. Then to the right. On the credit side was a shot over the back plate, an ankle breaker plus midrange jumper and 4 threes at half past two.
Heat vs. Celtics: How Boston’s defense dominated game 2
Defensively, Smart did not surprisingly take the fight against Butler, who had broken the Celts in Game 1. But now he had many more problems. According to second spectrum was defended by Celtics-guard Butler in 31 moves, the latter managing only 9 points. In addition, Smart had his hands in the passing lanes in the heat (3 steals), switched easily or worked on the boards (7 defensive rebounds and 2 offensive rebounds).
“As always, he was the tone,” Udoka said excitedly. “There’s a reason he became Defender of the Year. We had another good defender to put on Butler, so we did not have to worry about them dissecting certain matches.” That’s exactly what happened to Payton Pritchard in Game 1.
Meanwhile, Smart put the entire team’s defensive performance in the foreground: “We just wanted to be the tougher team.” It was the Celtics, they pulled Miami’s offensive in quicksand and would not let go. Miami barely got open throws. The other returning Horford also played his part in this, according to his direct opponents ESPN statistics and info at 2/9 FG and 4 turnover – often isolated. “It was not surprising how well we defended with these guys back on the field,” Udoka said, and he was right.
Incidentally, Smart expressed his greatest respect for Butler, Game 1 seems to have made an impression. “Jimmy is a warrior. It’s always a tough matchup, I just wanted to make his life as difficult as possible,” Smart said. And Butler, who still finished the game as by far the best Heatle with 29 points (11/18 FG), announced: “I promise you, I will find a solution.” We can be excited.
Celtics vs. Heat: Better to wake up late than never
With all the praise for the Celtics in the last few episodes – in the first few minutes there was actually nothing to indicate a blowout from the visitors. Instead, Boston fell 8:18 behind and coach Udoka was forced to time out. His address to the team: “Wake up!”
But it was not just these simple words. A few minutes later, midway through the first quarter, he replaced starter Robert Williams with Grant Williams. Robert did not get off to a good start and at times looked lost as a defender, but on the other hand he failed simple layups.
With Grant and thus a smaller lineup, the match turned around. The Celtics put most of their first half on the hardwood floor, with Grant providing more space. For Udoka, that was precisely why these lineups worked so well. “We were able to attack a couple of matchups that we chose and were able to pull a little away from Bam Adebayo and PJ Tucker. Of course Rob also does his stuff very well, but he has certain limitations when it comes to distance.”
Not so Grant Williams, who threw two threes in the first quarter and scored a total of 19 points. Pritchard also contributed two threes and 10 points, and it went so well for Boston that the two bench players made fun of their opponents with a “too small” gesture.
A side effect of the lineups, which is welcome from Boston’s point of view: Adebayo was hardly a factor in this game for a long time, neither defensively nor offensively. “They came out, slapped us in the face, and we did not know how to respond,” summed up the great warmth. By the way: Robert Williams presented himself much improved in his additional stints