Celtics’ superb defense, excellent and supremely dominant, makes the Heat look incompetent in Game 4 of the Conference Finals

Get this: The Boston Celtics, who had the best defense in the NBA in the regular season, who thwarted Kevin Durant in the first round and Giannis Antetokounmue in the second round, who employ smart, transferable defenders at every position, who needed to win on Monday. To avoid a 3-1 fall in the Eastern Conference Finals, he completely stifled the Miami Heat in Game 4.

Well, well, it’s not too surprising. Boston had shot in the foot by committing 19 live-ball spins in Game 3, recovering from each of his previous four losses in the playoffs.

But this was no ordinary throwback. This was an all-out hit as you’ll see in a playoff. The Celtics led 18-1 by three and a half minutes into the first quarter and 26-4 at the two-minute mark. The Heat missed 14 field goals before making their first. After three quarters, Miami scored 52 points (or 74.3 per 100 ownership) in a 36.5 percent true shooting and lost 14 of 20 3-point attempts.

It didn’t just make the Boston Heat look aggressively incoherent. Make them look incompetent. And he did without Defensive Player of the Year – Marcus Smart watched from the sidelines, inactive due to a sprained ankle.

After the 102-82 win, Celtics coach Aimee Odoka said they “realised we had to be more aggressive and physically on the defensive side.” He added that Heat big man Pam Adebayo entered the last game, and that “players are taking this personally.”

Odoka noted that none of the Miami players scored in double digits. If he really wanted to rub it in, he could have mentioned that the five starters racked up 18 points in a 7-for-36 shot, that two of them went scoreless and none of them took the floor in the fourth quarter, long since the score was set.

Boston’s defensive lessons began when Al Horford stuck with Adebayo through a cross screen, forced him out into the ocean and then fell in front of a pick-and-roll on the game’s first possession. Unusual roaming helped defender Robert Williams III overcrowd Adebayo, resulting in a fake pump, then Horford stripped him of cleanliness:

On the third possession, when Jimmy Butler went downhill against the touchdown, Williams’ assist forced a pass. Butler recovered the ball in the corner after delivering the ball with PJ Tucker, then attacked Williams with a push of a button. This resulted in a transforming jump from outside the restricted area, above both Williams and Jaylene Brown:

Two days after scoring 16 points and shooting 4 for 7 from deep, Max Strus was one of the starters without goals. This is mostly because Derek White, who started instead of Smart, chased him around the screens, forcing him to either take a tricky jump, settle into a float, or dump the ball.

The Celtics are known for their substitutions, but they always mix up their coverage to keep opponents confused and avoid some matches. Miami knew they could hit an open space against relegation, but couldn’t take advantage of it with any consistency. He shot 6-for-28 from a two-point range in the first half, and they were quite a distance from the edge.

The substitution, both on and off the ball, was also on point. If you follow the ball on this first quarter property, you’ll notice Grant Williams staying in front of Kyle Lowry and Butler, then Payton Pritchard out with a steal; If you watch Pritchard all the time, you’ll see that Boston denies him a mismatch with Adebayo and Butler:

Everyone who took the field for Boston contributed defensively. Listed at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, Pritchard is often a selective target because of his size, but he’s nothing if not feisty. Late in the first quarter, Gabe rejected Vincent in the transition, just as Horford did with Adebayo in the third:

Miami took only two points on the second chance in the first three quarters. “We felt like the last game clearly ruined us on the boards, so we just wanted to ramp up the effort all around,” said Robert Williams III. On the rare occasions that the Heat managed to elicit an offensive rebound, the Celtics continued to scramble, close and cover for each other. When poetic coaches wax about the importance of “multiple effort plays,” this is what they mean:

The only Miami player who found some success creating insult was Victor Oladipo, who finished with 23 points in a 7-for-16 shootout. Boston didn’t respect him as a groundbreaker, however, they respected Caleb Martin less. Robert Williams III continued to cheat away from both Tucker (the other player not scoring) and Butler, and a thigh injury that kept Tyler Hero out of action damaged the Heat’s distance to their side. toy industry. When Miami tried to get to the edge, bodies were everywhere:

While Jayson Tatum created advantages out of thin air, Heat often implemented a series of actions that add up to a large bowl of nothing. One possession in the first quarter ended with Vincent losing a 2nd corner kick on the footline to Tatum, and another ended with Vincent losing her jumper to Robert Williams III as Butler did earlier – even from the same spot. Top scorers tend to be very familiar with the sporty condom when attacking basketball, but the Heat challenged him on several occasions, apparently because they didn’t see a better option.

The most amazing thing about this track is that the Celtics shot themselves miserably (5 vs. 27 from depths in the first three quarters). However, it wasn’t the first time that their defense seemed like an unsolvable puzzle. Now that they’ve won Finals twice, Odoka said the challenge is to repeat that performance after victory, rather than “waiting for us to come to some sort of muster that energy”. Shots won’t always fall, but the way he sees it, if they take care of the ball and don’t allow easy basketballs, their defense will affect Miami mentally.

It looks very simple. For this team, maybe it is.

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