The Miami Heat had a chance to bounce back and get some revenge with a 2022 ECF rematch against the Boston Celtics inside the FTX Arena. Miami failed to do so, and couldn’t get into a groove on either end of the court all night long. Boston started out strong, even while missing some very make-able shots in the beginning minutes. The Heat never capitalized on that, and although the main guys played well, nobody was able to take over the game like how Jayson Tatum did for the Celtics.
All four of Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo, and Kyle Lowry had good nights, and even that wasn’t enough against this always competitive Celtics team. Adebayo was in foul trouble all night, and even with his impressive 19 points and 8 rebounds on 8/11 shooting, there were times where he sat where the team struggled to back him up.
Dewayne Dedmon and Haywood Highsmith both got minutes as the back up big and neither was able to be productive.
It shows that Omer Yurtseven is a player that was missed tonight, as his big body and soft touch around the rim could have given the team more than what Dedmon and Highsmith did. Victor Oladipo is another player that could have been helpful if playing. If his lock up defense in last season’s Celtics playoff series was there tonight, that could have affected this game. Miami desperately lacked that lockdown defense tonight, and even Butler had problems especially against Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
Gabe Vincent gave a spark off the bench contributing a much needed 17 points on 7/13 shooting.
Although the offense was inconsistent at times tonight, that wasn’t nearly as much as a problem as the defense was. Miami just could not get stops, there were holes in our defense and Boston was exploiting them. Tatum and Brown were getting whatever they wanted, and the Heat let one too many wide open looks from three go down in Boston’s favor. People were a step slow and struggled to recover on defensive mishaps.
Coach Erik Spoelstra has to find a way to tighten this defense up, and play with some more grit. Lowry did all he could to try and show that by getting to a few loose balls and getting in passing lanes in that third quarter, but he can’t be the only one doing that. The team needs better one on one defense, better help defense when a man gets beat, and just all around more hustle and heart on that end.
Miami also lost the rebound battle 43 to 36, something that a player like Yurtseven backing up Adebayo could have helped in that department. It’s only two games and clearly a lot of season left, but definitely not an ideal way to start. Losing two games in a row to Eastern Conference rivals, it isn’t going to get any easier with the Toronto Raptors coming to town tomorrow.