Winderman’s view: The real Celtics step forward . . . creating concern?
MIAMI – Observations and other notes of interest from Tuesday night’s 116-99 NBA playoff loss to the Boston Celtics:
– The Celtics looked like the Celtics.
– Playing defense.
– Making 3-pointers.
– With Jayson Tatum scoring when needed.
– The concern meter still is mitigated by the Heat’s 3-1 series lead.
– But Boston finally has regained its stride.
– This is a team that came back from 3-2 the previous round against the 76ers.
– It would be that again with a Heat loss on Thursday night at TD Garden.
– Panic? No.
– Urgency? Yes.
– Because this constant pushing of Jimmy Butler takes a toll.
– Even with Caleb Martin and Gabe Vincent picking up some of the slack.
– The Celtics assuredly will be favored at home in Games 5 and 7.
– That would make a Saturday Game 6 in Miami all the more pressure packed,
– This is how one game can change everything.
– If the Heat allow it to do that.
– They did, after all, win the first two in Boston.
– Where the Celtics hardly have thrived in the postseason.
– Make-or-miss league.
– On Tuesday night, the Celtics made.
– With the Heat missing a shot to make it far easier on themselves.
– So on they go.
– After being done for the night in the first quarter Sunday due to a leg injury, Kevin Love was back in the Heat starting lineup, along with Bam Adebayo, Butler, Max Strus and Vincent.
– The Celtics remained with a starting lineup of Al Horford, Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Derrick White.
– The Heat then made a three-player substitution with 4:43 left in the opening period, with Caleb Martin, Kyle Lowry and Cody Zeller entering.
– Duncan Robinson made it nine deep.
– Martin’s second 3-point attempt was the 100th of his playoff career.
– Strus’ fourth defensive rebound was the 100th of his playoff career.
– Martin, going in, said he would be shocked by anything but desperation from the Celtics.
– “We know how we would approach this situation, he said.
– Martin said he also appreciated how it could be a special night for the home crowd.
– “This is a one-of-a-kind situation where you can hopefully go four straight in front of your home crowd and get to finish it on your home court,” he said at the morning shootaround.
– But Martin cautioned, “We’re the type of guys who don’t get ahead of ourselves.”
– And they didn’t.
– The Celtics just played well.
– Of the atmosphere going in, Robinson said, “I think everyone is just kind of on edge competitively, which is a good place to be.”
– Robinson said the one constant about this stage of the playoffs is the consistent start times.
– “We’ve had kind of a pretty consistent routine, just with the schedule being 8:30 every night,” he said.
– And just being here, Robinson said, should be meaningful.
– “I think we have a respect for the opportunity,” he said. “I think we have a collective mindset of not to take opportunities like this for granted.”
– Strus, on going this deep into the postseason, “It’s a grind, it’s a long season, and every day is going to bring something new.”
– Brooks Koepka, who was at the Panthers on Monday night this time was at the Heat. Quite the trifecta since Sunday at the PGA