FINAL: Miami: 115 Boston: 99
I didn’t even wait for this game to end to start this because I’m so confused by this team. I’d say they were inconsistent but that doesn’t even begin to describe how they play on a nightly basis. It’s not game to game inconsistency, it isn’t even quarter to quarter, it’s minute to minute where you have no clue what team is going to show up. They did it again tonight as this game was such a trip and I’m trooping this out as my brain is all mush after the highs and lows of tonight. One second they’re scoring at will, then they’re down 26, then all of a sudden they’re on a 16-0 run, and THEN they’re down 20+ again. That isn’t hyperbole, that’s exactly what happened, and it was disappointing after such a great game front to back last night.
After starting out the game 5-6 from the field they hit only 14 of their next 43 shots to round out the first half at an abysmal 19-49. This included a 5-18 mark from three and an 0-0 mark from the free throw line. In fact, they didn’t shoot a single free throw until the 10:31 mark in the third quarter…
That just cannot happen and they still get into these funks where they repeatedly chuck up errant threes/mid-range jumpers. From their shot chart in the first half it shows how often they opted for jump shots as opposed to layups.
While a strength of their’s is their shooting, there’s a way to go about it that doesn’t include just walking up and firing. Overall they were 36-89 and 12-34 from three as a team. They abandoned what had worked so well for them recently as they only had 20 assists compared to 30+ in their prior 5 games. These shooting woes all begin from simply taking bad shots. When they are at their best, the ball is moving and it finds the open shooter naturally. It’s puzzling when they stray away from this and try to do everything on their own as it is always where things go awry for them.
Instead of the Celtics moving the ball, the Heat decided that they would take responsibility of that en-route to 33 assists. Point Justise Winslow was dancing around a triple-double (13/7/11), the corpse of DWade went in the time machine, and Hassan Whiteside looked engaged for the first time all season. Really though, DWade was unreal and put a stop to the Celtic run in the third by himself.
God I can’t wait until this dude retires. I’m sick of him and have been since he ripped Rondo’s elbow out of it’s socket in 2011.
It’s no secret, the Heat outplayed, out hustled, and outworked the Celtics for probably 40 of the 48 minutes played. On one play in particular, Marcus Morris was just watching a ball go out of bounds while Whiteside hustled to get it and threw it off of Morris to keep possession. Those are the type of hustle plays we expect the Celtics to make, not the other way around.
Other than that it was a downright wretched night for the bench as they went a combined 9-28 from the field. Gordon Hayward was 3-7 and a -20, Jaylen was 1-5, and Terry looked like the worst player on the planet as he went 1-8 and continues to try and overcompensate (he wasn’t the worst on the court tonight though surprisingly). It’s gotten to the point where anytime Terry has the ball I sit there and yearn for Brad Wanamaker to make an appearance. I’ve defended Terry countless times this season but I’m done doing that, he plays to get his, and the team suffers when he’s on the court because of it. The offense is so one-dimensional with him running it and the ball sticks constantly.
After cutting the lead down and eventually having it to 11 to start the 4th, the Heat went on a 15-7 run in less than 5 minutes as the Celtics put out a lineup of Rozier/Hayward/Brown/Horford/Ojeleye. WHAT IS THAT. It’s like Brad looked at the bench and was like “hmm who’s played the worst tonight? Oh, sounds good, go get em’ guys!”. It was similar to the Houston game a couple of weeks ago as all Kyrie could do was sit and watch while the sky was falling down. I’m not one to really badger Brad about his decisions but it’s happened multiple times now recently where he sits Kyrie and the game gets out of reach.
Speaking of the worst players on the court, how bad was Al tonight? He was 1-8 from the floor and a team low -26 in 23 minutes of play. He had two crippling turnovers early in the fourth that led to Heat baskets. They were a couple of lazy passes and it was something I was surprised to see from Horford. He looked elderly tonight and hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come in terms of his overall health. Coming off of that knee injury and knowing the mileage on him in general I wouldn’t be surprised if they really start to limit his minutes to keep him fresh for the postseason.
While I’ve gone over a lot of gloomy news, there were some bright spots to go over. First of all, Marcus Smart continues to show how much of a bargain his 4 year 52 million dollar deal is. He does it on both ends and while most of the team was sleep-walking, he came to play. Scoring 18 points on 5-10 from the floor and 4-8 from three he kept the green within reach in the fourth. His most memorable play from tonight though naturally was on the defensive end as he rose up and stuffed Bam Adebayo at the rim.
That is a guard going toe to toe at the rim with basically a 7-footer. He’s fearless and if it weren’t for him this game would’ve looked a whole lot worse in the end.
Last but not least, I have to go over TimeLord’s contributions. While he’s been stapled to the bench lately, Brad gave him a shot in the third and he came to play. He entered the game with the Celtics down 72-46 and they immediately went on a 16-0 run. He gave them a spark and good things just seem to happen with him on the court. In a game where the Heat dominated on the glass (51-37) Williams gave the Celtics some size and a rim protector. He was a +15 in 14 minutes of play and overall had the second best +/- in the game including Miami players.
When Aron Baynes comes back I’m starting to believe that Daniel Theis may not serve much of a purpose. Baynes has the shooting touch/defensive positioning and Williams has the rim running/rim protection. With all of those attributes covered by those two bigs what is the point of Theis? Even though Williams is still a work in progress it’s not like they’re losing anything when he’s on the court instead of Theis. His skill set and natural ability are so fascinating and streamlining his development could pay dividends for the Celtics in the long-term.
The Celtics ultimately fall to 25-16 and travel to Orlando to take on the Magic Saturday night.
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