Boston Celtics

Heat can't solve the Celtics

191544.jpg

Heat can't solve the Celtics

By JessicaCamerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON - The Miami Heat werent trying to beat the Boston Celtics at their own game. The Cs had too many minutes under their belt together for the Heat to compete with their chemistry.

Rather, they tried to do it playing Heat basketball.

It was a gameplan that may have looked shaky and unreliable at the start of the season, but more than 50 games in, head coach Erik Spoelstra had seen it coming together.

Were not catching them in terms of games played together, Spoelstra said prior to the game. But we have other things that other teams cant catch up to us with, and thats a game that were trying to establish defensively. Offensively, in December we became an explosive transition team. The last month weve been working quite a bit on our half-court execution. And we want to develop a game that can beat you in a lot of different ways.

The Heat entered Sundays game with a half-game lead over the Celtics for first place in the Eastern Conference. They were 9-1 in their previous 10 games and were in the midst of an eight-game winning streak.

The Celtics, on the other hand, have been hampered by injuries during that stretch. They were 5-5 in their last 10 and had lost two straight.

Even though the Celtics had a 2-0 series lead, Spoelstra argued his team was vastly different than the last time the Celtics beat them, 112-107, on November 11, 2010.

If you watch us play, were dramatically different, he said. We were so far behind offensively, not developing any level of trust. We only had a quarter of our offensive system in. guys were not comfortable offensively with their roles, and thats to be expected bringing in a lot of new components. Weve used the regular season now to develop many different aspects of our game. And so, like a lot of teams, were much different than the beginning of November. Arguably were the most improved team since the end of November.

On Sunday, however, the result wasnt any different.

After taking a 20-15 first quarter lead, the Celtics outscored the Heat, 24-23, in the second quarter. The Heat were up 43-39 at halftime, but that edge quickly depleted.

The Celtics came out swinging in the third quarter, outscoring the Heat 35-18 in spite of a scoreless 12 minutes from Paul Pierce. (He scored just one point the whole game.) The Heat shot 27.3 percent from the field while the Celtics made 10 of 12. The Cs also got to the line 17 times, the Heat only eight.

The Heat fought back in the fourth to hold the Celtics to 11 points, but a missed free throw by LeBron James and two made free throws by Glen Davis clinched the win for the Cs.

The Celtics took a 3-0 regular season series lead with an 85-82 victory.

Were disappointed. We did not play to our potential, said Spoelstra. Still had an opportunity there at the end a possession here, a possession there. Whatever happens during the course of the game, you want to simply give yourself a chance there at the end, and we had a chance. It could have swung either way, but we werent able to get over that hump, and thats a very poor first half, third quarter. And again we lost our focus, we did not play to our standards.

While neither team is putting too much stock into regular season contests, the Heat have yet to find a way to beat the Cs, whether it is playing Celtics ball or Heat ball.

They are defending Eastern Conference champions, said Spoelstra. You have to go through them and they arent going to make it easy. So we understand that this isnt going to be an easy ride for us, and thats where were at our best. Were able to be objective and figure things out and have a breakthrough. Right now were disappointed about it, but we still have an opportunity to get better and change things in the next 28 games.

The Celtics will see how much has changed when they face the Heat for their final regular season matchup on April 10 in Miami.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA

Survey: Tatum likely to have best career of incoming NBA rookies

Survey: Tatum likely to have best career of incoming NBA rookies

BOSTON -- Danny Ainge has maintained that if the Celtics had held onto the No. 1 pick in last June’s draft instead of trading down two spots, he still would have made Jayson Tatum his choice.
 
That confidence that Tatum will be an impact player in this league is clear in the recent NBA.com rookie survey, which was released Tuesday morning.
 
While Dallas’ Dennis Smith Jr. was voted as the most likely Rookie of the Year, Tatum and Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball were tied with 18.4 percent of the votes, as the players who would have the best careers from this NBA rookie class.
 
The survey was compiled earlier this month at Panini’s NBA Rookie Shoot in Tarrytown, N.Y., and consisted of questions being asked of 39 rookies.
 
Tatum, selected by Boston with the No. 3 overall pick, did not finish in the top five in any other categories.
 
However, he was among those players to receive some votes for Rookie of the Year; biggest steal of the draft, and best playmaker.

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Time to worry about Isaiah Thomas' hip injury?

best_of_bst_podcast.jpg

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Time to worry about Isaiah Thomas' hip injury?

0:41 - A. Sherrod Blakely joins to discuss how concerned he is about Isaiah Thomas’ hip injury and the scan he will go through in September to make sure his hip is good to go.

5:40 - Tom Curran, Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith break down the Patriots preseason game vs. the Texans, specifically Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady’s playing time.

9:41 - Evan Drellich joins BST to discuss how John Farrell mismanaged the bullpen during the Red Sox loss to the Indians.

13:25 - With Roger Goodell reportedly receiving a 5-year extension, the BST crew talks about the relationship between the NFL owners and the commissioner.