Though there are many areas in which the Boston Celtics need to shore up, ESPN NBA writer Zach Lowe sees these two tweaks as vital to keep them alive.
The Boston Celtics find themselves in a bit of a rut heading into game three of these Eastern Conference Finals.
Though they handled the physically dominating Philadelphia 76ers in four games back in the Quarterfinals, round-two presented them with a much bigger challenge, as they took the reigning NBA Champion Toronto Raptors to seven grueling games.
Now, they find themselves in the midst of perhaps their biggest challenge yet, as they try to climb themselves out of an 0-2 hole dug by the scrappy Miami Heat.
Every game day, the Houdini discusses 3 keys to victory, and, heading into tonight’s outing, we pinpointed a few very specific areas in which they need to address.
This morning, ESPN also jumped into the “keys to victory” ring, as NBA writer Zach Lowe penned a piece entitled How the Celtics get back into the East finals. In the article, Lowe addressed two specific points of emphasis the Cs need to hone in on if they wish to enter the win column. His points were as follows:
- Figuring out Miami’s zone
- Stopping the Bam dunk parade
Point one is certainly at the top of Boston’s tweak list, as Miami has played 837 possessions of zone this season and is continuing to find success in this playstyle against the shamrocks. Because of their commitment to this defensive scheme, the Celtics’ pick-and-roll game and mismatch one-on-one plays are becoming harder and harder to come by (both of which are frequently run plays by Boston).
Lowe points out that a substantial way of combatting this zone could come with the return of Gordon Hayward.
"You can bet Brad Stevens and his staff have spent the past couple of days going over every counter. Getting Gordon Hayward back would be huge. It is unreasonable to expect Hayward to bring peak explosion right away, but Hayward taking 18 minutes from backups would help.His playmaking style is tailor-made for zones. He is good at making connecting passes in the flow. Hayward also is a threat to score, and a sneaky cutter. Another steady ball handler would reduce the chances of Boston barfing up anything close to the 20 turnovers it committed in Game 2. Boston ranked eighth in forcing turnovers; it needs to play the turnover game to at least a draw."
His second point of stopping Bam Adebayo from dunking, however, we believe is one that should be behind a few other areas of concern for the Boston Celtics, such as containing Goran Dragić, defensive pursuit of the 3-point shot, and keeping control of a lead.
While keeping Bam away from the rim will certainly be an important task to accomplish, the Houdini sees this as relatively simple, for we saw Boston force him into more mid-range shots than he’s comfortable with in game one (shot 42 percent from the field). They can easily do this again should they throw the right personnel his way — namely, Daniel Theis and Robert Williams.
The Celtics have a real shot of winning tonight should they shore up many of their easily mendable loose ends. It’s evident something has to change within this team. Hopefully, they figure out what needs to be done before it’s too late.