Fast and Furious: Heat Use Speed to Slow Down Celtics

How Miami found success playing faster than normal in Game 1.
Jimmy Butler Goes Off for 41 in Miami’s Game 1 Eastern Conference Finals Win Over Boston

The Heat took the lead in Game 1 because of a myriad of reasons and, however, one matters more than all the others they employ Jimmy Butler, who scored 41 points and made 18 free throws in an Celtics defense that required key time of Payton Pritchard, and Daniel Theis because Marcus Smart and Al Horford did not play. Boston appeared to be a little vulnerable during the fourth quarter because Butler forced Pritchard to one screening ball after the other and a tactic which consistently produced quality shots.

For one night, this strategy seemed to be a viable solution. However, assuming Smart and Horford get better from a foot sprain , and security and health protocols are followed, Miami won’t be able to eat in the entire in the series. Boston will recover and adapt its coverages. (Butler might still be able to make fouls and take shot that is contested because that’s how great offensive players are known for, however, it will not be a result of his asking Smart’s assistant to make a selection.)

The opener of the series wasn’t solely based on that one play also; during the game’s frenzied attack, Butler made a curious decision when he had a 13-point lead and just five minutes remaining at the end of the quarter. After Jaylen Brown was unable to make an attempt to putback the ball which led to Bam Adebayo scurrying onto the floor Max Strus grabbed the rebound and quickly passed it over to Butler who ran across the floor towards two backpedaling Celtics and at 19 seconds on the clock for shots and a few seconds left, he stepped up from his right elbow.

In evaluating the time, the score, how the floor was positioned and the results Butler was able to achieve against Pritchard the game felt little bit unbalanced. In the same way nearly every shot that was missed during Game 1 utilized to give the shots in a different way. The entire night both teams followed the same method after every replay and live-ball turnover The strategy was to run.

“We would like to be as we do,” Adebayo said after the game. “Coach does not want us to be running plays.”

This isn’t a novel idea. It’s much easier to score earlier in the game against an opponent who’s scrambled than one who’s had the time to plan their game. In this match offensive strategies will be particularly eager to avoid needing to perform against a set defensive. It’s a tough task. Heat and Celtics made it to the conference finals as the playoff’s two strongest half-court teams. Boston ended the regular season first as well as Miami came in fifth.