Written by: Jamal Harris Jr.
The Boston Celtics staved off elimination until at least Thursday picking up a 116-99 win in Miami; putting the series at a 3-1 Miami lead heading back to Boston for game 5. Being in control throughout much of the game the Boston Celtics looked much like the team we’ve grown accustomed to seeing this season, hitting 18 of 45 3 point attempts and having there talent shine through when it needed it to with all 5 starters scoring in double digits. Jayson Tatum having yet another exceptional elimination game stat line led all scorers with 33 points on 14-22 shooting; while also chipping in 11 rebounds and 7 assist. The Celtics will have to do this 3 more times to win this series an earn themselves their 2nd straight NBA Finals trip. Can they do it? The simple answer is no, for a multitude of reasons
1. It literally has never been done
There have been 110 teams to go down 0-3 in a series since 1984 and 0 of those teams have come back to win the series. Of those 110 teams only 2 teams have been even able to force a game 7. There’s a first time for everything but I am sure that is not quite what the Celtics want to bank on to win this series
2. Celtics have no homecourt
Yes it’s true Miami literally stole homecourt advantage by winning Game 1 and never looking back; the truth is the Celtics never had a homecourt advantage to begin with. The Celtics having a 10-11 record playing at home in the postseason the past 2 years, with a 4-5 record this year. They are a mediocre home team and we cannot expect them play well or even have an elevated level of play simply because they are playing at home.
3. Jaylen Brown Injury
Jaylen Brown injured his elbow going for a loose ball in game 1 and despite him saying he’s fine and it not affecting him it has clearly affected him. He’s averaging a woeful 16.8 points for the series on 39% shooting and making only 12% of his threes. He has 14 assist to 12 turnovers and has lost complete confidence in his scoring ability. The Celtics have 0 shot without Jaylen Brown playing like the player we’ve been accustomed to.
4. Celtics predictable and analytic playstyle
Drive, kick, drive, kick, drive kick. Those are the words you often hear from the broadcast during a Boston Celtics playoff game because that is their identity as a team. It did wonders for them in the regular season ranking 2nd in offensive rating and being in the top 5 when it came to 3 pointers made and 3 point percentage. They quite literally live or die by the 3, which unfortunately for the Celtics is not a sustainable strategy. Their offense is too easy read with Miami confusing them with zone defenses to muddy drives, beating them to spots on the floor for easy charges, and doing an excellent job of contesting 3 pointers. The Celtics have been unwilling to adjust there offense and that will be there undoing.
5. Miami Heat
From a hopeful 8th seed, to a feel good story, to being on the doorstep of the NBA Finals the Miami Heat have put it all together and have peaked at the perfect time. There undrafted shooters have been red hot this series and Jimmy Butler has once again elevated his game to unbelievable heights this postseason. Erik Spoelstra is showing his experience running circles around 1st time head coach Joe Mazzulla and has the team playing great defense. Yes the Celtics are flawed, but make no mistake the Miami Heat have taken the fight to the Celtics and have earned there way to a 3-1 series lead.