With the Miami Heat continuing to burn through the opposition, the Boston Celtics may need some of that Irish Luck. Let’s see if that postgame locker room confrontation in Game 2 can wake them up.
The Celtics are sure going to need it, because you just don’t come back from a 3-0 hole against this year’s Miami Heat. They’re too good, too vicious, and it will take a war to keep Jimmy Butler away from the NBA Finals.
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HOME TEAM: #5 Miami Heat (2-0)
As part of the postseason’s many surprises, the Heat are now 10-1 in the 2020 playoffs. Following the Game 2 win, they have jumped into a 2-0 lead for the third straight series. They were also able to make it 3-0 in the previous two.
Though only fourth in offensive and defensive ratings, Miami is arguably boasting the finest, most consistent offense and defense in the playoffs thus far. They have six players averaging in double figures, four of which are also dishing out over four assists per game – in a separate trend, four of those six are making more than 2.3 threes per contest.
Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Goran Dragic are headlining the Heat’s attack through clutch plays on both ends, and we can expect more from the trio.
Two guys who also deserve recognition, however, is veteran ‘3 and D’ guy, Jae Crowder, and the brash-but-poised rookie, Tyler Herro. Crowder is as savvy defender with outside shooting and a ton of playoff experience, which is perfect for the Heat system, while Herro is a sharpshooter who’s also a well-rounded contributor in other departments – the kid posting 11.5 PPG, 10 RPG, and 7 APG in the series!
Miami is scoring 111.5 PPG in the two wins.
ROAD TEAM: #3 Boston Celtics (0-2)
The Celtics’ fall into a 0-2 hole is simply through their deteriorating play in the second half. In Game 1, they gave up 46 combined points in the fourth quarter and overtime, and in Game 2, they blew a 17-point lead by allowing a 37-17 run in the third period and a 17-7run in the final 4:25 of the game.
Among the key reasons for Game 2’s decline was their inability to respond to the 2-3 zone defense, which might’ve caught them off-guard since it’s not being regularly used anymore. The Heat suddenly switched to the scheme and you could see it confusing the Celtics offense.
It’ll be interesting to see how Brad Stevens and his men will adjust. They had a chess match against Nick Nurse and his Toronto Raptors in the Conference Semifinals, and it was an entertaining back-and-forth.
Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, and Jaylen Brown will remain as the Celtics’ three-headed monster, with Marcus Smart possibly joining in. Stretching back to the Raptors series, the All-Defensive guard is averaging 19.8 points with 4.0 threes per game in his last four games.
Boston is averaging 107.5 PPG in the series.
The 2020 playoffs has been about big leads being wasted, and the Celtics have had most of it – not as much as the LA Clippers, but still.
That said, the Celtics are young, talented, and well-coached, and sincethey’ve shown it in the regular season and the previous rounds, I expect them to successfully make adjustments. They’ll make this a series, 109-104.