The Boston Celtics played great last night.
They shot 54%, outplayed Miami in transition, and silenced Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade (only 29 points combined).
If it wasn’t for 21 turnovers and nine missed free throws, it would have been a near-flawless performance.
But the Heat still won 105-103 to extend their winning streak to 23 games.
Even on the decisive play of the game — where LeBron James drained a long two-pointer with 10 seconds left to win it — the Celtics played excellent defence.
Here’s the video (more below):
Jeff Green played it perfectly. He was off LeBron by a few feet to protect against the drive, but he was still close enough to contest a pull-up jumper.
If LeBron gets to the rim, he shots ~72%. The nightmare scenario in that situation is LeBron blowing past Green and finding his way to the basket (which he was doing all night). Green couldn’t afford to crowd him and risk getting beaten on a drive.
So instead Green sagged a little, forcing LeBron into a contested long two — the most inefficient shot in the NBA.
Here’s LeBron’s shot chart this year. On jumpers from the left side of the key, he shoots only 42%:
The Celtics got the outcome they wanted, a contested long two:
But LeBron made it anyway.
That’s why it’s so hard to beat the Heat. You can do 90 out of 100 things right, but LeBron is good enough to transcend the flow of the game and still bury you.
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