In the second round, the main guard Kyle Lowry came back and fell again. After the opponent’s Philadelphia 76ers ace Joel Embiid returned to the team, the series was tied for a time. Fortunately, the Heat relied on Jimmy Butler to support the sky and the depth was far superior to the opponent. He made it to the Divisional Championship for the second time in three years and once again challenged for the first post-LeBron James era championship.
In the second round, the main guard Kyle Lowry recovered and fell again. The series was tied at one point after rival Philadelphia 76ers ace Joel Embiid returned to the team. Fortunately, the Heat rely on Jimmy Butler to stand in the sky and far surpass their opponents in depth. He reached the division title for the second time in three years and challenged again for the first title since the LeBron James era.
The Heat paid too much attention to Embiid in the two away games. The full switch and the retraction strategy allowed the 76ers shooters to get a lot of space. The three-point shooting rate in the two consecutive games was close to 50%; the original rebounding advantage no longer existed, and Embiid’s huge body caused Heat heavy pressure. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who ranked third in the Best Coach of the Season vote, made a move. Spo abandoned the full defense strategy and switched to sinking and retreating as the main attack. The main center Bam Adebayo, the backup center Dewayne Dedmon and Embiid jumped together Bada lingered.
This strategy worked. On the one hand, Embiid’s state is not 100% different from that of the regular season. On the other hand, the half-disabled Lowry has a good mobility after the break, and Gabe Vincent and Victor Oladipo are very mobile. The Heat’s entire defense uses athleticism Make up for the lack of height. Spo even figured out a way to put shooter Duncan Robinson on the floor: put Robinson on the less defensive side with Caleb Martin, the most dynamic wing, on the court. While Robinson didn’t fire from the outside, Spo once again showed ingenuity and coping.
The 76ers, on the other hand, lacked the ball-handle to consistently attack dislocations, and only sophomore Tyrese Maxey had some decent offensive output. Tobias Harris’ efficiency declined, and former MVP James Harden, who was expected to bring a powerful force, was even more disappointing. Only the fourth game played the level expected by the outside world.
In the close of Game 6, Harden played for the first time for more than 40 minutes without getting any free throws. The entire Heat fouls only 12 times the 76ers team free throws 7 times, the overall discipline is amazing. Even though the fourth game broke out and scored 31 points, Harden averaged less than 20 points per game in the entire series, but he averaged close to 5 turnovers per game.
Heat wing ace Butler took the lead, becoming only the second player in Heat history to score 30 or more points in four consecutive road games. Only Dwyane Wade did so in the 2005 playoffs. He also surpassed LeBron James to become the Heat player with the most 40 points in the playoffs. All the statistics of all-offense and defense have been greatly improved compared with the regular season. It seems that he has said goodbye to the problem of knee injury.
Veteran P.J Tucker had this to say about Butler at the post-Game 6 press conference:
I’ve played with some good players, and when a big game calls for them to jump out, they’ll cringe and don’t want to face it. Butler is completely different, he takes every opportunity every second and is not afraid at all, that is definitely a talent!
It is generally believed that the good player that Tucker mentioned will shrink is Harden. After all, Harden was almost absent when the 76ers needed it most, and the past history also lacked playoff achievements. Butler, who was born in the same year and whose birthdays are less than a month apart, has never won an MVP, nor has he won the scoring or assisting championship, but his mentality has been completely different along the way. The career curves of the two have already crossed.
The rise of role players has given Heat coach Spo more room for evolution. The starting shooter Max Strus, who replaced Robinson, is getting better and better. He has fought all the way to become the team’s starter from the undrafted Ronin. In the last two games of the series, consecutive rebounds exceeded double digits. His strong defense made the Heat’s defense line more complete, and his three-point shooting percentage There are also qualified 34.7%. Vincent, who filled Lowry’s starting position, was also an undrafted player. Even though he was still looking for a touch, his strong offensive and defensive performance made up for the lack of Lowry’s absence.
The Black Panthers Oladipo’s return is encouraging. He only played 8 regular games and didn’t play the first three games against the Eagles in the first round. After Lowry fell, Oladipo became a stable member of the rotation. His ability to cut and draw fouls is probably second only to Butler on the team, and his strong defense is as reliable as ever, even if the perimeter instability still exists.
Goalkeeper Adebayo’s attack was still a hit and miss, but the defense in the latter part of the series effectively restrained Embiid. Backup center Dedmon didn’t shoot well, but struggled to push and influence opponents in the paint, building a solid defense with veteran P.J Tucker.
The most disappointing player is probably the new Sixth Man of the Year winner, Tyler Herro. In the face of the 76ers’ repeated pick-and-roll attacks, Herro was obviously affected. The hot feeling in the first two games cooled down quickly, the shooting rate in the last four games was less than 40%, and the three-pointer was as low as less than 20%. The most troublesome thing was that the number of mistakes was even higher than the number of assists.
In the playoffs, Herro’s scoring efficiency has plummeted. The second attacker in the regular season is now in jeopardy. His shooting style and lack of foul-making play make the problem worse. Facing a more powerful opponent, the Heat need his help. Attack fire.
For the Heat, how the three-point firepower they depend on for a living determines the outcome of the game. Against the 76ers series, the whole team made less than 30% of the three-pointers, relying on rebounds to kill the 76ers and control errors to hold the scene and keep the victory.
The Heat’s three-point shooting percentage in the regular season was close to 38%, ranking first in the league alone. The team’s shooting situation in the playoffs took a turn for the worse.
Butler, Tucker, and Robinson have increased their hit rate. One does not use three points as the main scoring method, the other is limited in the number of shots, and the other is still waiting for the coach to let him play. The important lock, Martin, could hardly make a shot. Vincent and Herro, the main players in the backcourt, fell into a low ebb, not to mention that Lowry, who was injured again in his hamstring, did not know when he would return. The Heat, who lack top talent, need to open up space on the outside. Facing the continuous improvement of defensive intensity, whether or not to recover the shot has become the team’s top priority.
One of the reasons why the Heat won the top spot in the Eastern Conference and successfully passed the first two rounds of the playoffs is the depth of rotation. Team discipline and solid defense can also be recorded. It is a pity that these advantages become less and less obvious as the playoffs progress. The teams that can hit the back have a certain level of offensive and defensive stability, and the Heat may not have the upper hand; it’s cool to consume opponents in a 10-person wheel battle, but facing top players with first-class physique and physical fitness, the Heat’s weapons are not many.
The Heat can rely on coach Spo’s ability to adapt and adjust over the years. Spo, who has been selected as one of the top 15 coaches in NBA history at a young age, is recognized by all walks of life as one of the strongest coaches today. Secondly, it may be the mentality of the players who refuse to admit defeat. Only Adebayo and Herro are the products of the end of the first round of the lottery.
The pre-season signing of Tucker seems to have come in handy at the most critical moment. His playing style has not changed since he took the ring last year, and his movement pace has not been affected by age and injuries. Very hot style.
The opponent in the Eastern Conference Championship will be the Boston Celtics, the hottest in the second half of the season.
The two powerhouses had played against each other in the Orlando Bubble. At that time, the Celtics with a better record in the regular season defeated the previous year’s champion Tyrannosaurus in seven bloody games in the second round, which is quite similar to this year’s drama. At that time, the Celtics were the favored side. The first game between the two teams was inseparable until the playoffs, until the final Adebayo’s wonderful hot pot decided the winner.
Two years later, the Heat’s veterans in the original series include Butler, Herro, Adebayo and Robinson, who fell out of the rotation. The old faces on the Celtics side include Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, two flankers, as well as Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart, and finally returning center Daniel Theis. Grant Williams or Robert Williams were also in the team, but they played very little time. Can be ignored.
The Bubble Circle Heat won the series in six games, but the score gap was very small. The Heat won by better discipline and teamwork. The biggest difference from that year is that the defense of the Celtics has improved a lot. At that time, Kemba Walker dragged his knees and became the weak point of the defense and was caught and played by the Heat. In addition, the Celtics were too superstitious about small balls, which made Adebayo’s great activity a watershed.
The Celtics are different. Even though the broom Robert Williams’ knee injury is unknown, only Payton Pritchard is the weakest point in the backcourt defense. The rejuvenated Al Horford is in the center, and Theis is not weak. The improvement of G.Williams in addition to Tatum and Brown on the flank line has further strengthened the defense line. The defense of Derrick White, a new member of the backcourt, is also quite good.
After being baptized by the bucks and the Greek monsters, the Green Shirts have proved that their psychological quality has the ability to fight in a war. At 2-2, they lost the key game at home, and the fifth game was drawn. The sixth game survived Giannis Antetokounmpo on the road.
The evolution and hard work of the ace Tatum has become a weapon for the Celtics to break the enemy. He has made remarkable progress in reading defense, and is more able to take into account both singles and team offense. In the first round, he beat Kevin Durant, and in the second round, he had contacts with Antetokounmpo and has become a first-class star in the league. The Heat are expected to use the veteran Tucker to guard him before double-teaming him, and his top-flight matchup with Butler is one of the biggest highlights of the series.
The Heat and the Celtics are the most frequently switched teams this season, and the last time they met was the Heat winning, and it’s going to be a long, tragic series. However, considering the current situation of the two teams and the overall lineup, the betting market is more optimistic that the green shirts can survive.
Once again, the coach’s wits and coping decide who belongs to the Eastern Championship. Celtic head coach Ime Udoka’s first year as coach to lead the team to the conference championship was rewarding, but coaches with the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich system typically have a slower reaction time. Former 76ers coach Brett Brown did the same, just lost Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer, and Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins had similar problems. Their characteristics lie in combat planning and team execution, but changing moves in the playoffs and changing cards on the spot are not their strengths. Coupled with the fact that Udoka is coaching for the first time this season, it is inevitable that people will be more worried.
In contrast, Spo started out as a film editor. He was educated by Zeng Meng master Pat Riley and worked under Stan Van Gundy. He has seen countless winds and waves, and he is extremely experienced. Outside of repairs, it is rare to see the Heat coached by him completely beaten.
All the fighters, with the right combination, with the odd victory. Whether it’s a dignified use of combat power, or a surprise victory to change the rotation or even the matchup, or the ATO’s on-the-spot tactical change, Spo has a reliable performance endorsement, which is undoubtedly the Heat’s advantage.
Taking into account the home field advantage, the psychological quality of the players, and the strategizing of the famous coach Spo, I personally think that the Heat will win 7!
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