There aren’t too many positives to take away from Boston’s loss last night to Miami. Boston, once again, found themselves going down early in the game and forced themselves to play catch up the rest of the way. Boston never took the lead once and allowed Miami to control the game even without Jimmy Butler. Here are my takeaways from the Celtics 112-106 loss to the Heat.
Jayson Tatum had a solid game for Boston. He finished with 23 points on 6-11 shooting, got to the free-throw line nine times, hit all nine shots, and was finishing strong at the basket. Jaylen Brown shot 9 for 23 but tried to bring the Celtics back into the game. At some points, he looked like the only guy on the court that could do anything with the ball, but he still missed some opens shots towards the end of the game.
Kemba Walker looks healthy. That’s a definite positive to take from this game. He played 26 minutes and finished with 15 points and 4 assists. He won’t be playing in the next game against Brooklyn, but that minutes restriction will be lifted sooner rather than later.
Also, Enes Kanter played well off the bench. You can tell how his game will go based on the first few minutes he’s in the game, but he was the best player coming off the bench for Boston last night. Kanter finished with 10 points and 5 rebounds in just 15 minutes. All five of his boards were on the offensive glass and gave Boston second-chance opportunities, which he does so well.
Now here come the negatives. The Celtics played awful defense. They’ve played terrible defense the entire time they’ve been in Orlando. The Celtics are allowing 118 points per 100 possessions, and among the 22 teams in Orlando, only Philly and Portland have been worse. That’s 11 points higher than their average before the season was suspended. If you’re watching the games, you have to think that the team just isn’t trying. Last night was one of those nights where they just weren’t trying on defense.
Boston was complaining about too many calls, and although the referees continued to make questionable calls against the team, they can’t let that dictate how they play. Did some of the calls suck and do the refs have a vendetta against Boston? Absolutely, but this team needs to learn how to control their emotions and not let those calls get the best of them.
But since we’re here, this call was absolutely terrible.
I mean come on!! He was just talking to himself!
It doesn’t happen often, but Marcus Smart played really, really, really bad last night. He was given some crappy fouls early on in the game, but he wasn’t helping the team at all when he was on the court. He fouled out in 15 minutes and left the game with a plus-minus of -16. That’s not good… like at all. Like I said, it doesn’t happen often, but Smart hurt the team last night.
Brad Wanamaker probably gets under my skin more than he should, but wow was he bad last night. Brad Stevens seriously can’t give Tremont some of his minutes? Wanakamer tries to play hero ball when he’s out there and acts like he’s the best player on the court. News flash: he isn’t. He had stupid turnovers and gave the softest foul, which led to an and-one right after this turnover.
Please, Brad, stop doing this to us.
Also, Semi flat-out stunk last night too. First of all, 19 minutes is far too many to be giving him. Second of all, 1 for 6 shooting? Really? That includes shooting 1 for 5 from three. He literally has two jobs, and that’s to play solid defense and hit open threes. If he can’t do that, then why is he even on the court?
Not for nothing, why couldn’t we have given Robert Williams a few minutes last night? I mean, Bam Adebayo was killing the Celtics, and it seemed there was nobody that could prevent him from scoring, getting an offensive rebound, or getting to the free-throw line. Wouldn’t last night have been the perfect time to give him some run? It wouldn’t have hurt, that’s for sure.
In the fourth quarter, the Celtics shot 35 percent from the field and 24 percent from three. It’s hard to win games and come back from 16 down when you’re shooting like that. The Celtics had 43/30 splits for the game, compared to Miami’s 44/35. The three-pointers absolutely killed Boston. It’s especially hard to win when Jaylen and Gordon combine to shoot 0-10 from three. Maybe they should’ve kept feeding Tatum, who was actually having a decent shooting night, but hey, what do I know.
I also can’t fail to mention how badly Goran Dragic killed the Celtics last night. He finished with 20 points and stepped up for Miami without Butler. He was hitting some tough shots even if it was highly contested, but that’s just how it goes sometimes. When one man goes down, another has to step up.
Overall, the Heat (without Jimmy Butler!!) took a big, fat dump on the Celtics last night. They played terrible on defense, got down early, and failed to come back late in the game. This team needs to learn how to come out of the gates stronger and keep the games closer. They came out hot against Portland but blew a 24 point lead later on. Maybe this is why we can’t have nice things.
I predicted Boston would go 6-2 during these seeding games, and so far, they’re 1-2. I hope they just got their losses out of the way early and they’ll start to pick things up during these last few games. They can’t keep playing like this as we get closer to the playoffs. They need to figure it out.
Boston is back in action tonight against the Brooklyn Nets, who just had one of the biggest upsets in years against the Milwaukee Bucks. Boston should have zero issues with the Nets tonight, but so help me God if they find a way to lose this game, we’re going to have some problems.
Photo: Kim Klement – Pool/Getty Images