Celtics 3-0 comeback vs. Warmth: Three causes Boston could make NBA historical past in Jap Convention Finals

The Warmth demolished the Celtics in Recreation 3 of the Jap Convention Finals, sending Boston right into a traditionally insurmountable gap within the NBA Playoffs.

By now, you have most likely seen the stat: In NBA historical past, 150 groups have trailed 3-0 in a playoff sequence however zero have come again to win the sequence.

With their backs towards the wall, the Celtics tried to channel their interior 2004 Boston Purple Sox — the primary workforce in MLB historical past to beat a 3-0 playoff sequence deficit.

“Do not allow us to win tonight,” Marcus Sensible mentioned forward of Recreation 4 in an ode to Purple Sox first baseman Kevin Millar’s now-historic pregame assertion.

Boston backed up its speak, dealing with the Warmth by 17 factors in Recreation 4 and 13 factors in Recreation 5 to power a Recreation 6 in Miami.

MORE: Celtics dominate Warmth at dwelling to power a Recreation 6

“They allow us to get two, so do not allow us to get one other one,” Jaylen Brown said confidently following a decisive win in Recreation 5.

The Celtics have flipped the momentum on this sequence, and the stress shifts to the Warmth as they attempt to shut out on their dwelling flooring. Has Boston discovered one thing in its two wins? Let’s take a more in-depth have a look at a few of its keys to victory.

Three causes Celtics are constructed to beat 3-0 deficit vs. Warmth

Celtics turning up the depth on protection

The Celtics’ success begins on the defensive finish. Within the 2023 NBA Playoffs, Boston is 2-8 when it permits over 110 factors. It’s 8-0 when it retains its opponent below that determine.

On this postseason, the Celtics’ protection has not persistently regarded something just like the protection that carried them to the NBA Finals final yr or the league’s second-best defensive ranking this common season.

In Video games 4 and 5, Boston received again to its roots, taking its defensive depth to the extent that received it right here. The Celtics held the Warmth below 100 factors in each wins to get again into this sequence.

MORE: Down 3-0: What number of groups have come again to power a Recreation 6, Recreation 7?

They’ve began to stress Miami’s ball handlers the second they cross halfcourt, benefiting from the Warmth’s skinny guard rotation. Particularly with Gabe Vincent out of the lineup with an ankle harm in Recreation 5, Boston regarded rather more aggressive to leap passing lanes or stunt on drives to power inexperienced playmakers to decide.

In Recreation 4, the Celtics scored 27 factors off of 15 Miami turnovers, additionally tallying eight blocks and eight steals. In Recreation 5, they upped the stress much more, scoring 27 factors off of 16 Warmth turnovers whereas recording 13 steals and 4 blocks.

Their switches and defensive rotations have been in sync, with all 5 defenders on a string the best way they have been final postseason. Consequently, Boston held Miami’s blistering shooters to below 10 3-pointers in back-to-back video games.

As we have seen from this workforce prior to now, this stage of protection is sustainable — and it is their Achilles heel if they are going to make historical past.

Celtics’ ball motion towards Warmth’s zone protection

Developing with stops on protection has allowed Boston to play with rather more tempo over its two wins, however its halfcourt offense has regarded synergetic.

This Celtics workforce is at its greatest when the ball is sort of a sizzling potato zipping across the perimeter. It is the benefit they create by having a minimal of 4 shooters on the ground always.

In Video games 1-through-3, Boston regarded dumbfounded by Miami’s zone as Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and co. tried to dribble via traps and site visitors. It felt like TNT was airing re-runs of final yr’s Convention Finals and NBA Finals. The Celtics had 15 turnovers in every of the primary three video games of the sequence and did not create many open seems from 3.

In Video games 4 and 5, the Celtics beat Miami’s zone with ball motion — each across the perimeter for 3s or inside the comfortable spots within the paint for lobs.

In Recreation 4, the Celtics had 28 assists on 43 made area targets, flattening 18 3-pointers at a 40 p.c clip. In Recreation 5, Boston had 23 assists on 40 made area targets, flattening 16 3-pointers at a 41 p.c clip. It did not flip the ball over greater than 10 occasions in both contest.

It seems just like the Celtics are lastly getting snug towards the Warmth’s patented zone protection they usually’re harmful when the 3-ball is falling.

Celtics are at their greatest below stress

Final, however definitely not least, there’s one thing about this workforce when their backs are towards a wall.

It is one thing that The Sporting Information’ Gilbert McGregor detailed particularly about star ahead Tatum heading into Recreation 5 — and the remainder of the workforce follows his lead.

Relationship again to the beginning of the 2022 NBA Playoffs, the Celtics are 7-1 in elimination video games. They’ve additionally received four-straight highway elimination video games — a stat that bodes properly for his or her upcoming Recreation 6 in Miami.

Recreation 5 was Boston’s fourth win going through elimination this postseason — probably the most in a single playoffs within the adorned historical past of the Celtics’ franchise.

Now, with their season nonetheless on the road, the Celtics are simply two extra wins away from making NBA historical past as the primary workforce to tug off the reverse sweep with a 3-0 comeback.