The Celtics have learned to master the art of "spacing"

The Celtics have learned to master the art of “spacing”

Beaten in Game 1, the Celtics still seemed badly embarked after four minutes of play. Behind a bleeding PJ Tucker, the Heat had effectively taken control of operations by means of an authoritarian 15-8.

But, after a timeout from Ime Udoka to wake up his troops, the Celtics regained all their bite, and their address, with a scorching first quarter at 9/11 from 3-pointers, a new franchise record in terms of achievements behind the arc.

Grant rather than Robert

By switching his Williams, putting Robert on the bench in favor of Grant, Ime Udoka has reversed the trend.

A masterstroke with a stinging 57-27 over the remainder of the first half, in which Boston will score to +25, the biggest gap in franchise history in a first half at the outside.

“It gave better spacing,” enjoyed Ime Udoka. “We had to attack some duels we wanted, stretch Adebayo and Tucker and some of their other guys. With Rob on the pitch obviously, there are certain things he can do very well but also limits to stretching the opposing defences. We had already had success against Milwaukee and Brooklyn by lining up Al and Grant because we have more space and we can attack their defense in multiple ways. We were able to create a lot of open shots, open 3-pointers. Grant got in a few shots but opened the racket for our outsides. »

Returning his first two 3-point attempts, Grant Williams (19 points, 4 rebounds) effectively forced the Heat’s defense to come out on him, leaving spaces for the Tatums, Browns and other Pritchards.

“He has improved so much since his first year,” whispered Jayson Tatum on ESPN. “He’s worked hard on his game and he’s turned into a player you trust to play on the half court. He sees a flaw and he can go to the circle and make the right choice. And that’s what he did [hier soir]. »

Smart the bait

Better, with the return to business of Marcus Smart, the Celtics found their general in chief. The leader of the pack in defense, but also in attack.

“For me, it was about coming in strong and aggressive in this game and not making the same mistake again. [qu’au Game 1]. We are playing against a very, very, very good Miami team. And when you make mistakes, they make you pay cash! We must limit our mistakes. It was my mindset, to give the ball to Jayson and Jaylen, to Al. To find them open shots and take what the defense gave me. »

With 24 points, 12 assists and 9 rebounds (plus 3 steals), Marcus Smart came close to a triple double. And even if he wasted some ammunition at 8/22 on shots including 5/12 from afar, the best defender of the season above all allowed his team to be led with an iron fist.

“I always watch his passes and his ball losses. He managed a few and, tonight, he made a match with 12 assists and 1 lost ball, dictating the game and setting things up. Like I said before, I’m not the kind of coach who wants to call every system. I leave that to him and he usually makes the right choice, figuring out who to serve, who’s hot. He did a good job on that point tonight, playing with the aids. They’re a team that helps a lot and needs to stand out on shooters, so he did a good job of attacking the key and passing to give us easy shots. »

Not necessarily known for his discipline in the game at the start of his career, Marcus Smart took the fold. Like Grant Williams, he has grown well since his rookie year… while keeping his contagious energy!

“There’s a different energy when I’m on the pitch and can bark instructions and really get into guys to motivate them. I want to show them the example and give my all, so they don’t want to be the guy who pulls away. When I’m on the pitch, I can also calm us down and provide what the team needs by creating play for my teammates. »

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