Kyle Lowry waits pregame in Miami before game three. Photo via @MiamiHEAT on twitter.

Heat Look to Sweep Celtics

The Miami Heat look to sweep the Celtics tonight. The Heat are up 3-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals going into game four after a blowout victory (127-102) in game three. Jimmy Butler is continuing his playoff dominance averaging 29.9 points, 5.6 assists, 6.7 rebounds and 2.2 steals. With a win tonight, the Heat secure their match-up with Denver Nuggets in the NBA Finals.

Pressure is Key

The key to game four for the Heat is pressure. Not letting Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and the Celtics find their offensive groove.  Butler and the Heat have been in prime form this series. The team has shown their ability to score at will at every position.

The Heat have six players averaging more than 11 points a game (Jimmy Butler, Caleb Martin, Bam Adebayo, Gabe Vincent, Duncan Robinson and Max Strus). The Celtics have three (Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Robert Williams). Boston has been struggling from beyond the arc this series sitting at 29.2% on 106 attempts. Miami is shooting 47.8% on 92 attempts. Part of Boston’s troubles is the permitter defense of Butler and the defensive scheme of Erik Spoelstra.

The specific defensive assignments in place allow better switch assignments off of pick and rolls. This lets Butler and Adebayo keep the defense strong even through switching on and off of Tatum and Brown. 

Celtics Stars in a Slump

Tatum has been hot and cold this playoff being unreliable, to say the least for Boston. He goes from scoring under double digits and taking 20 shots to being the Celtic savior. Brown on the other hand is the much more reliable but less flashy piece of the Celtics offense. From beyond the arc, these two normally great shooters have been awful. Tatum is 25% from three with 20 attempts and Brown is even worse at 10% with 20 attempts.

The argument of just keep shooting out of your slump might be failing with these two. The two of them are 7-40 from beyond the arc and averaging just over 3 assists a piece. These two are supposed to be the main facilitators for the team but have left it up to Marcus Smart to pick up the slack. 

Butler and Adebayo have done great on the perimeter and inside with both Tatum and Brown. Allowing no easy shots and forcing the pair to look for other ways to help their team than what they are used to. 

Playing Without Hero

Since his injury in the first series of the playoffs, Tyler Hero has been injured and missing for the Heat. But without him, the Heat have been playing arguably some of their best basketball. 

In the Heat’s first playoff series against the Bucks, they lost Hero in game one to a hand injury. After that Heat players were forced to step up and take on the challenge of becoming the team’s secondary facilitator and shot creator. Players like Gabe Vincent and Caleb Martin have become offensive weapons for the Heat. Martin is averaging the most points for the Heat (19.3) this series besides Butler (26) while also averaging over a steal a game.

Gabe Vincent had a career night in game three boasting an impressive 29 points. Vincent scored as many points as Butler and Adebayo combined and was a force the Celtics couldn’t stop. 

A beat writer for the Heat reported today that Hero has been cleared to play from his hand injury but has no expected timetable to return to playing. I don’t see the team playing Hero tonight or even the rest of this series as he needs to get back into basketball form. And the team is performing great as they are, the big decision for the Heat will be whether or not to insert Hero back in the lineup anytime soon. 

The game starts tonight at 8:30 keep up with the game as the Heat look to sweep the Celtics through their Twitter.

About Marshall Tempest

I am a student at the University of Florida majoring in sports journalism with a certificate in sports management. I am 22 years old, from Orlando Florida and plan to graduate in the fall of 2023.

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