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2022 playoffs close error in the second half is a warning sign for the Heat, butler's injury highlights offensive concerns

Butler injury highlights offensive concerns

The Heat’s star center Bam Adebayo had an average of 8 points and 5 rebounds on the offensive end of the Eastern Conference Championship, which was not up to the standard. However, he became the first player to win in G3, contributing a team-best 31 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 interceptions, and a shooting percentage of 68% from the outside. According to statistics, only Hakeem Olajuwon has reached the same level in NBA playoff history. threshold.

G2 defeated Celtic by 25 points. G3 returned to their home court, but failed to pursue the victory. In the first half, the Heat used aggressive defense to lead by as much as 26 points. However, in the second half, Jimmy Butler was injured due to right knee inflammation. The exit gave Celtic a chance to narrow the gap behind. Fortunately, the Heat stabilized their position at a critical moment, blocked the opponent’s counterattack, and took the second win without any risk, leading the series 2-1.

The team has 19 interceptions, and the Heat rely on their signature defense to win the game

The main reason for the Heat’s victory in this game is undoubtedly defense. The team made 19 interceptions and made 23 turnovers for Celtic, which was converted into 33 points. On the other hand, the Heat controlled the team’s mistakes to 8, and only allowed the opponent to pass 9 points for mistakes. The general direction of the Heat’s defensive strategy in this battle remains unchanged, and it is still dominated by regional zone defense, but makes some adjustments to address the shortcomings of G2.

G2 Celtic made a lot of use of cut passes to create peripheral gaps, and hit 20 three-pointers with a 50% hit rate. In response to this, the Heat not only made a solid first-line assist defense in this game, but also made more solid fills and closes. The far-field defenders are also more alert, waiting for an opportunity to start stealing the ball.

In addition, the Heat faced pick-and-rolls in the last game, and they mainly adopted the Trap strategy, using double-teaming to force the ball carrier to move to the sideline and then attacking. The defensive rotation is not enough and the gap is exposed; in this battle, the Heat’s defensive pick-and-roll strategy has been changed to Switch, which is to switch directly to reduce the trouble of rotation and replacement.

Ambition + Tactical Configuration Adebayo’s performance bottomed out

As mentioned in the previous article, the Heat’s star center Bam Adebayo’s problem of god hiding on the offensive end of the Eastern Conference Championship game averaged only 8 points and 5 rebounds, which was not up to the standard. However, he became the first player to win in G3, contributing a team-best 31 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 interceptions, and a shooting percentage of 68% from the outside. According to statistics, only Hakeem Olajuwon has reached the same level in NBA playoff history. threshold.

In this battle, Adebayo’s offensive desire has been significantly improved. In the first two battles, he only made 10 shots in total. In this battle, he made 9 shots in the first quarter, setting a new career high shot in a single quarter.

In terms of tactical configuration, the coaching team also increased Adebayo’s ball-holding proportion. Not only did he dribble the ball over half court, but also used Early Offense, and also made extensive use of the Warriors’ signature Split Action. The people then screen with an empty hand, one of them can get a space on the outside, the other will cut to the penalty area, and Adebayo will wait for the opportunity to choose a pass or a post. 

Near comeback is a warning sign for Heat, butler’s injury highlights offensive concerns

In the case of Butler’s early exit due to injury, the Heat still relied on the cooperation of the team to successfully win this victory, especially when the score was pulled by the opponent, the Heat always responded, including the countdown of 47 seconds. When Ultic took it lightly, Lowry intercepted the opponent’s out-of-bounds serve in the backcourt and assisted the trailer Max Strus to score an empty cut, extending the lead to 9 points and laying the foundation for the victory.

But behind the victory, the Heat have a lot of worries. In the first two quarters, they took a 26-point lead, but they were chased by their opponents to a 6-point gap at the last minute of the game. One of the main reasons was the lack of Butler’s firepower output. The Heat’s offense in the second two quarters crashed, and the hit rate was only 41.5%. , far less than Celtic’s 54.3%. Butler averaged 18.1 points in the second half of the playoffs this year, leading the league, and it’s no wonder his absence would have such a big impact.

The Heat guards were all in a slump in this game. Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo all shot less than 40% from the field. They made 6 of 30 shots and scored only 24 points. The current situation of the three is not too ideal. Lowry has been hit by injuries in the playoffs this year, Herro has been injured and Oladipo has been in a state of ups and downs, and his hit rate in the last three games has hovered around 20%. While both Lowry and Oladipo were good on the defensive end, with four steals each, the three of them together accounted for one-third of the team’s attempts and had to be more efficient on offense.

Butler averaged 8.2 free throw attempts per game in the playoffs this year, the most of any player among the four teams that advanced to the conference championship game, and another major impact of his absence was a sharp drop in team free throw attempts. Deducting the opponent’s deliberate fouls in the countdown stage and sending the Heat to the free throw line, the Heat team actually only got 7 free throws in this battle, compared to Celtic’s 30 shots from the free throw line. The Heat made an average of 45.5 cuts in the first two games, but there were 8 fewer cuts in this game.

How does Brown play a masterpiece? Why is Tatum sluggish?

How does Brown play a masterpiece? Why is Tatum sluggish?

Although it failed to make a comeback, the Celtics still had bright spots worth noting. Jaylen Brown scored a career-high 40 points and 9 rebounds in the next playoffs. Similar to the Heat’s Butler’s offense in G1, Brown’s game also relied on constantly storming the penalty area, often even with a one-on-two plus a big drawbar, scoring points with his personal ability, despite the high frequency of singles, His shooting percentage is amazing, he made all 11 of his two-pointers, and bought 12 free throws. Almost one person beat the entire Heat team.

On the other hand, Tatum fell into a rare low tide. He averaged 31.5 points in the past six battles. He only scored 10 points in this battle, and his shooting percentage was only 21.4%. Even when the team set off a counterattack in the second half, only Tatum was still lost. 4 shots were made, and only 2 points were scored by free throws.

Tatum’s slump reflects the success of the Heat’s defensive strategy. The Heat sent a sturdy P.J. Tucker to guard him from the beginning of the game, trying to reproduce the targeted defense of Tatum in the second half of G1. Tucker not only began to press from the backcourt, but also used it from time to time. Limbs collide with Tatum. Just like the matchup in the video below, when Celtic was about to serve out of bounds, in addition to pushing and pulling Tatum with his hands, Tucker knocked over Tatum directly like playing American football, just to prevent Tatum from catching the ball.

Tatum was also in the game. Because of Tucker’s fierce defensive action, he had some disputes with Tucker. Obviously, Tucker’s defense effectively disturbed Tatum’s mood, which also affected his shooting rhythm.

Facing the upcoming G4…

The Heat played the game successfully and took the lead in grabbing the second win. According to reports, Butler’s injury does not seem to be a major problem, and there should be no major problems in G4, which is definitely a big plus for the Heat. But the Heat are not completely dominant, especially this battle revealed the team’s hidden worries on the offensive end, and G4 is still held at the Celtics’ home court.

In addition, the Celtics also have a data blessing. Since February 1 this year, whenever the Celtics lose, Tatum will immediately win the next game and break out, averaging 31.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game. , and more importantly, the team’s record is 8 wins and 0 losses. The Celtics were originally a team with strong fighting spirit. From the team’s counterattack momentum in the second half of this game, it can be known that if Tatum can bottom out in the next game like before, the Celtics will have the opportunity to tie the game in G4.

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