After a devastating loss in Game 2 of the eastern conference finals, Boston Celtics fought their way from being down 0-3. There were several reports about the altercation that took place between Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown on Thursday night. However, they didn’t let that affect their chemistry in Boston Celtics vs Miami Heat Game 3 tonight.
It was a chess game between Brad Stevens and Eric Spoelstra throughout. Although Boston Celtics won the game, they made terrible choices towards the end of the fourth quarter picking up flagrant and unnecessary fouls. Gordan Hayward returned tonight after an injury in Game 1 against Philadelphia 76ers. Even though he didn’t have an incredible shooting night, he came up big with 3 steals.
Jaylen Brown’s presence was felt on both ends of the court. Scoring 26 points and 5 assists at 64.7% FG, he was impactful offensively. However, his defense was key to this victory as he recorded 3 steals and a block. Although Marcus Smart’s defensive effort didn’t translate into stats, he did a great job defending Miami Heat tonight. He restricted Heat them 38% FG, one of their worst this postseason. The changing factor between the last game’s historic comeback and Game 3 loss for Miami was Goran Dragic.
Even though the heat roster had a better offensive night compared to game 2, Dragic’s off night severely affected their pace. He concluded the game with 11 points and 5 assists at 20% FG.
Could Goran Dragic be more valuable to Miami Heat than Jimmy Butler?
So far, Miami has had on;y 2 losses in the 2020 NBA playoffs which is incredible for a 5th seeded team. They swept Indiana Pacers in Round 1, defeated top seed Milwaukee Bucks in the conference semifinals, and now they are leading 2-1 against Boston Celtics. Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, Bam Adabeyo have been rather inconsistent on the floor, however one constant in every win was Goran Dragic’s efficiency.
This 34-year-old All-star from Slovenia is currently averaging 22.2 points per game in the playoffs along with 4.6 assists and 4.5 rebounds at 47.7 FG%. Tonight he had 11 points at 20% FG and the only other game he had a stat line like this was Miami’s Game 4 loss against Milwaukee Bucks where he scored 17 points at 29.4 FG%.
Brad Stevens on switching matchups to start the game: "Marcus' (Smart's) ball pressure on (Goran) Dragic was important. It's something we need to continue to look at. Marcus did a great job on a guy who is playing better than I've ever seen him."
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) September 20, 2020
Although Bam Adebayo had a 27-point triple-double tonight with six players on Heat’s roster scoring in double digits, their offense was just not efficient enough. This could be attributed to the beautiful defensive moves by Brad Stevens, executed by Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart.
Clutch free throw shooting by Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown’s 2-way abilities, and Jayson Tatum’s deep 3s were ensured this victory over Miami Heat. Whether or not they continue to play like this will decide Celtics’ future.