Each day, we are going to preview the night's NBA Playoffs action by looking at the adjustments that can be made by the losing team and showing what they can do to win.
With three road teams winning their second round match-up, it is a little surprising to see that the Boston Celtics were the only road team not to come away with the win. If the Celtics want to take home court advantage from the Miami Heat, they are going to have to make a few adjustments on both sides of the basketball.
Offense: More Pick And Pops For Kevin Garnett
With the way that the Miami Heat like to put pressure on the ballhandler when they come off of screens, something the Heat are susceptible to is the pick and pop. This is something that fits Kevin Garnett's game well, but for whatever reason, this set was only run twice for Garnett, who ended up missing both shots:
Yes, Garnett missed both of these shots but these are wide open looks and from a spot on the court where Garnett can knock it down. If the Celtics can come away with more of these shots and Garnett can knock them down, the Heat are going to be in some trouble.
Defense: Stay Focused
Maybe it was because the Celtics had an extended break, but the Celtics unusually lacked focus on the defensive, too often turning their head away from their man and paying too much attention to the basketball.
On this play, Mike Miller makes the catch on the wing, pump fakes, and drives to the middle of the court. Jeff Green, who is responsible for James Jones, gets caught ball-watching badly and has his back turned to his man, who cuts from the wing to the corner. Miller does a great job to hit Jones and Jones easily knocks down the three-point shot from the corner.
Here, coming out of a timeout, the Heat are running a set that ends up getting the ball to Dwyane Wade on the wing as two bigs set a screen off of the basketball for LeBron James. Both Celtic defenders responsible for help defense have their backs turned to the ball-watching LeBron. So when Wade penetrates, there is no help coming and he is able to finish at the rim while getting fouled.
I am willing to chalk this up as rust and a fluke because the Celtics' defense has been so good in the past and during the regular season. However, if the Celtics continue to struggle this could be a major problem for Boston.