After Thursday nights loss, the Celtics dug themselves into a deep hole going down 2-0 to the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. Sure, Boston isn’t in an ideal spot to win this series, and to be quite frank, they have not played well enough to win this series. However, it is a seven-game series. There is still a long way to go.
There have been two main problems for Boston so far through two games. One of the problems being blowing leads. In game one, the Celtics blew a 14 point lead. Despite blowing the lead, Boston had plenty of chances to win the game but they failed to execute. As the clock winded down in the fourth quarter, Boston and Miami were tied. Jayson Tatum had rights to the last shot. Rather than trying to create a shot with the clock winding down, he relied on a step-back contested three-pointer. We all know Tatum can make that shot, but if he were to of gotten a better look, this series could be a lot different then it is right now. The Celtics ended up losing the game in overtime.
In game 2, Boston blew a 17 point lead. Another horrible 3rd quarter by the Celtics put them in a hole for the rest of the game. The energy just wasn’t there in the second half. They played very sloppy and made many careless turnovers. Boston finished game two with 20 team turnovers which is unacceptable.
The second problem Boston has run into in this series is beating Miami’s zone on offense.
They have done nothing but struggle so far when the Heat are in a zone. However, it did look like the Celtics were starting to crack the zone by getting Jaylen Brown involved in the corner. Brown had two three-pointers in the final minute of game two while Miami was in the zone. It was good to see Boston figuring something out against the zone, but we definitely have not seen enough success against it.
Another major factor that could have a dramatic effect on the series is Boston’s Gordon Hayward was upgraded to questionable for game three.
Assuming Hayward goes back into the starting lineup, this will allow Boston to move Marcus Smart back to the bench. Smart’s scoring and defensive ability are so important for the Celtics. Boston has one of the weaker benches in the league and has been relying on their main four (Walker, Smart, Brown, Tatum) to play north of 40 minutes per game in the playoffs. Hayward was averaging just below 20 points per game as the fourth scoring option for Boston this year. His offensive talent could very well be a difference-maker in this series. All Boston fans are hoping Hayward will be ready to go.
That being said, this series is far from over. In fact, the Celtics were down 2-0 to Jimmy Butler just three years ago and came back to win the next four games. If you are a Celtics fan, a game three win puts your team right back into the series. It is way too early in this series to count the Celtics out.
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