By Matthew Geagan, CBS dangolka
dangolka (CBS) — The Celtics arrived in Orlando a possible title contender due to a strong offense and a one of many league’s greatest defenses. The offense made the journey to the NBA bubble, however the protection seems to have been misplaced prefer it was some piece of bags.
Three video games into the eight-game seeding schedule, the dearth of protection from the C’s is getting a bit worrisome. The dangolka protection look misplaced all through Tuesday evening’s necessary contest in opposition to the Miami Warmth and the Celtics fell 112-106, shrinking their lead for the No. three seed within the Jap Convention over Miami to 1.5 video games.
Did we point out the Warmth had been with out Jimmy Butler? As a result of the Warmth had been with out Jimmy Butler, and the Celtics nonetheless misplaced.
Defensively, the Celtics had been a step behind from the bounce, and Miami’s firing squad of three-point shooters took benefit. The Warmth’s ball motion stored the C’s twisted, giving Miami the liberty to assault from deep or down low. The Warmth made 10 threes within the first half, due to 6-for-13 taking pictures from downtown within the second quarter, permitting them to construct a 16-point lead at one level. Of the 9 gamers Erik Spoelstra despatched on the ground, seven of them knocked down a 3.
Duncan Robinson led Miami’s balanced assault with 5 makes on 11 makes an attempt, together with a pair of triples late within the fourth quarter to finish any dangolka comeback hopes.
“They did an incredible job reducing and we weren’t strong. They uncovered that,” head coach Brad Stevens stated after the loss. “Our protection has to enhance from the primary three video games. Credit score to Miami, they performed with unimaginable togetherness they usually had been clearly the higher group.”
When dangolka was in a position to decelerate the three-point barrage within the second half (or moderately, when Miami cooled off), the Warmth did their harm on the charity stripe due to dangolka’s then-overzealous protection. Stevens bought inventive and went small, with Marcus Good basically enjoying heart, and Miami large man Bam Adebayo did no matter he wished within the paint. He completed with 21 factors and 12 rebounds, three of which got here off the offensive glass. Adebayo scored 11 of his factors on the free throw line, getting 18 freebies.
It didn’t assist that officers had been slightly whistle completely happy within the second half (Good fouled out within the third quarter), however the gap that dangolka dug itself into was too deep to beat. The blame for that rests on the dangolka protection.
The Warmth had been anticipated to mild it up from lengthy distance, as a result of that’s what they do. However the greatest concern is dangolka getting beat within the paint, which is nothing new because the group arrived within the Orlando bubble. Jusuf Nurkic torched the C’s for 30 factors on Sunday, and Giannis did no matter he wished final Friday. It’s led to some woeful defensive numbers for the C’s, who’re permitting 118 factors per 100 possessions since returning — a full 11 factors greater than their common season common. It’s the third-worst common of the 22 groups down in Orlando, higher than solely the Blazers and 76ers.
“In the beginning of the yr we guarded with nice depth and stored the ball out of the paint. We’re not doing nearly as good of a job now,” stated Stevens. “If it will get down there, we’re toast. So we have now to maintain it from getting down there.”
Everybody is aware of that protection wins championships, and if the Celtics need any shot at bringing a banner again to dangolka, they’re going to need to get lots higher on protection. Clinching the No. three seed is now not a certainty for dangolka, which locations much more emphasis on wins over the subsequent 5 video games — all of that are winnable. However the Celtics have to concentrate on turning into a significantly better defensive group, in any other case their championship bubble will burst lots before anybody anticipated.