Match one way, or almost, at TD Garden tonight. At home, it was indeed the Celtics who quietly took the measure of the Heat (122-92).
A Miami team which moved to Massachusetts without Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry or PJ Tucker, and which presented an unprecedented starting five. Unsurprisingly, the limits of this weakened workforce were quickly felt, even if the Florida franchise was deluded one half, being led “only” by ten points at the break (54-45).
The return from the locker room was then bloody, since Boston stepped on the accelerator to increase, again and again, the gap. In the wake of Jaylen Brown (29 points) and Jayson Tatum (20 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists), who did not have to force their talent to allow the C’s to clinch a fourth victory in five games.
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
— The Boston collective at the rendezvous. If Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, well supported by Marcus Smart, did the job last night, they were above all also assisted to perfection by Robert Williams, Al Horford, Josh Richardson or Grant Williams. Because it is indeed the whole collective of the franchise of Massachusetts (with the exception perhaps of Dennis Schröder) which regaled the public of the TD Garden. And, this, without ever giving up and managing to win this match initially announced within its reach.
— Miami not sufficiently armed. With seven of its elements on the sidelines, including three of its incumbents, the Heat logically demonstrated its limits tonight. Frustrated and orphaned by his usual comrades in the starting five, Bam Adebayo did not weigh for a single moment on this part, unlike Max Strus (27 points), while Erik Spoelstra’s men quickly took the hit to the score (27-14 after twelve minutes). And despite a slight burst of pride in the second quarter, the South Beach players collapsed in the second half, accumulating failures and suffering martyrdom in front of the opposing collective.
— Boston in the zone. In an attempt to destabilize the Celtics, Erik Spoelstra had obviously decided to rely on this zone defense which usually works so well for his players. Except that, this time, the players of Ime Udoka did not experience the slightest difficulty in tearing down the Florida coach’s tactical plan. Managing to circulate the ball very well, convert their attempts to 3-pts and find good shooting positions at mid-range, the C’s took pleasure in cutting up their opponents in attack, in turn. A superb collective performance from them, therefore.
✅ The Tatum-Brown-Smart trio. As bosses, and well supported by metronome Al Horford, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart quickly led the way for the Celtics. Never really worried about the outside defense of the Heat, orphan of its three best elements (namely Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry and PJ Tucker), the leaders of Boston had no trouble feeding the mark for the C’s. C’s imperial from start to finish and which present a much more conquering and seductive face when their natural “Big Three” performs such a fine, accomplished performance on both sides of the field.
✅ Max Strus. Along with Caleb Martin (to a lesser extent), the Heat sniper was unquestionably the most prominent and threatening Florida player today. Author of 27 points, with 9 baskets at 3-pts (his career record, in 17 attempts), the 25-year-old fullback often played firefighters on duty for his team, in the first half and then in the third quarter. -time, so that it does not sink to the bulletin board. But, overall lonely, the one who was not drafted in 2019 could not necessarily have closed the gaps alone for Miami, despite his many shots planted behind the arc.
⛔ Duncan Robinson. If Gabe Vincent was clumsy for a long time, before raising the bar a little when the match was folded, he will at least have had the merit of running the shop correctly (9 assists) in the absence of Kyle Lowry. Unlike “D-Rob”, ghostly and to say the least handicapping for his team, from the moment he does not convert his shots. What happened to him just last night, the Florida back finishing with only 6 points on the clock, 2/8 to 3-pts. An obviously insufficient performance from the Miami shooter, all the more so without several regular starters…
Boston (27-25) : reception of Charlotte, on the night of Wednesday to Thursday (01:30).
Miami (32-19) : “back-to-back” in Toronto, this Tuesday evening (1:30 a.m.).