The Celtics are just a win away from the NBA Finals. While Boston was able to rely on its star power in the second half, the Heat still did not come together offensively. Where did Miami miss a chance to win? And what aspects also give cause for concern about the upcoming game / games? The results of games 5.
1. Miami should have led higher at the break
38.2 percent from the field, 25 percent from distance, 10 turnovers, 9 offensive rebounds allowed. That was the Celtics’ startling numbers in the first half of Game 5 of the Eastern Final. “It was a lot of shit, our defense kept us inside the game,” Jaylen Brown said of what it showed, adding at the same time that it doesn’t always have to be nice in the playoffs.
“If you want to achieve something special, it’s part of it. We’re proud to win in different ways.” And when Miami only hit 18/48 from the field and 4/21 from the perimeter and thus only inadequately used the extra throws (+15), the Celtics only went into the locker room with 5 points in deficit.
With all the defensive quality from the Heat, it was clear early on that Boston would not deliver such a weak offensive performance over 48 minutes. Both teams, of course, have their strengths in this area and know each other inside and out. Nevertheless, many of the guests’ turnovers were not forced, especially Brown was completely out of himself (4 TOs at the break). Miami made very little of these, in the end it was only 17 points after winning the ball and only 5 in the quick break.
“We can not afford to keep losing the ball like that,” head coach Ime Udoka told his protégé during the break, keeping his word. After the change, not a single one was added. As a result, “only” the weakness of the defensive boards was a concern (19 allowed offensive rebounds), but thanks to an improved offensive, this could easily be compensated for.
Boston scored 37 points in the first half and 32 in the third quarter alone, while Miami only reached 16 in the same period. The Celtics managed to turn a completely open match into a blowout on what felt like ten minutes. After 2 three-pointers from Brown at the start of the final quarter, the visitors led by +23, and the hall on South Beach suddenly emptied.
The main problem with the Heat, of course, was the hit rate at a distance, it was 19 percent at the break, and in the end it was only 15.6. Besides some well-played throws that just would not fall, the home team tried to climb it no matter what – even though the quality of the throw was sometimes simply not there. Duncan Robinson pulled the trigger ten times while the Celtics had made a clear effort not to let him get into a rhythm in the first place.
In Jimmy Butler’s form, the Heat only went to the line twice in the first half (2/2, BOS: 7/9), it was the first free throws for Miami in all games in 32 minutes. In the half-court offense, the Heat had massive trouble getting to the basket or making high percentage throws. It was almost predictable that the game would overturn as the fight progressed.
2. Boston’s star duo deliver – and in Miami?
Because: The star duo Celtics from Tatum and Brown are just too good for that. With a total of 10 points and 3/16 FG they were at the break, it was almost impossible that both would continue to score so miserably. Tatum was too good in Game 4, Brown was too constant except for the weaker meeting last time. And then it turned out: Tatum scored 9 points in the third quarterBrown 13 in fourth.
Brown in particular could not be missed at times – whether it was a three-pointer, a well-disputed middle-class jumper or a monstrous thump in which he overtook gravity. Brown and Tatum scored 37 points in the second half, Heat 38. “It’s not good,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said of his team’s three-point quota, but that phrase could also have applied to the overall performance.
“We did not like the way we played. We asked ourselves, ‘How much does that mean to us?’ We saw all the 50/50 balls that disappeared and their use, and we decided we needed to clean it up, Tatum said of his team’s recovery after hitting a historic milestone, becoming the second youngest player in NBA history to reach 1,500 playoff points at the age of 24 and 83 days. Only Kobe Bryant was younger. “We know that when we get started, there are not many who can keep up with us,” Brown said. play with Tatum.
And with the heat? They could not rely on a similar star power. This is not a new problem. The strain on Jimmy Butler, who apparently was not at 100 percent, but still played by far the most playing time with the Heat, is (too) offensive. Already in the early stages, he dropped unusually many easy points on the basket, some of the shots missed their goal by a wide margin, and his legs failed him with the jumpers. The result was 4/18 FG for 13 points.
Bam Adebayo, who played more than 38 minutes as the other Heatle, was clearly the best player among the guests. However, he still owes the proof that he can carry a team consistently in attack. When he was at his best, the fight was more or less decided. His score in the current series: 10, 6, 31, 9, 18. Looking back, Game 3 seems more of an anomaly than the rule. It is not enough for the second-best player on a semifinal team. The firepower of sixth man Tyler Hero, whose participation in Game 6 is also completely open, is lacking in every nook and cranny.