The Miami Heat have experienced trouble dealing with the Boston Celtic’s wing athleticism and mobility. That means this… it’s time for more Derrick Jones Jr.
The Miami Heat are up 2-1 over the Boston Celtics in their Eastern Conference Finals series. Although Game 3 heavily leaned towards the Boston Celtics, we should still like where the Miami Heat are.
None of us thought that they would really come into this Eastern Conference Finals series and sweep Boston, but what they have shown is that they can and should be the team that represents the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. This is at least what they have shown through the first two rounds and even in the comebacks of Games 1 & 2, although you would prefer them not to dig such holes to climb out of.
In Game 3 of this series though, it was all Boston, well until the Miami Heat turned it on late. Even still though, the Boston Celtics were able to finish the deal and close the game on the strength of their wing play.
When you think about the Boston Celtics, yes, you think about Kemba Walker and Brad Stevens but what separates them from everyone else is what they get out of their wings. When you think about Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and the newly returned Goran Hayward among others, what should cross your mind is skill, grit, athleticism, and shot-making.
That is what that quartet and the other wings they have give the Boston Celtics on a night in and night out basis. That’s is why they have been able to jump out on the Miami Heat in all three games, how they were able to insurmountably jump out in Game 3, and what allowed them to eventually close the door.
The Miami Heat need to match some of the things the Boston wings are doing in this series. Paging Derrick Jones Jr. to the front of your mind.
Well, the Miami Heat have a ton of those to offer on the other side as well, including Jimmy Butler, Jae Crowder, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, and Jae Crowder. None of them though and I repeat, none of them can offer the unique combination of skills, ability, and physical traits that Derrick Jones Jr. can offer.
Let’s get this out of the way first.
Yes, Derrick Jones Jr. hasn’t ever committed a foul that he thought was the right call. Yes, DJJ has been a “-” in the “+/-” ratings in every game he has played in during the playoffs except for the last two games against Indiana in the first round, but analytics people, hear this.
What those metrics can’t account for is the unique ball of energy, grit, toughness, length, defensive ability, athleticism, explosion, and excitement that he brings with him in the game.
Want to out-tough or out-grit Marcus Smart, Jones Jr. can do that. Want to body up and pester the heck out of Gordan Hayward, DJJ can be your guy.
No one will stop him from scoring because he is a menace with the rock in his hands, but you want to make it as difficult as possible for Jayson Tatum to kill you, then give him some looks against DJJ.
Want to counter the explosiveness and athleticism that Jaylen Brown has put on display all series? Ok, put your freak in the game, a guy that makes even Brown’s hops look just average. Now, think about little doses of all of it across and entire game.
Even if it isn’t downright actively aggressive, the passive impact of throwing a wrench at them in the form of what Airplane Mode can make his body do should be worth the time in the rotation he will eat up.
The Miami Heat have to come out in Wednesday’s Game 4 and want it more than Boston does from the opening tip. They have to come out ready to match them blow for blow, effort for effort, and physical imposition for physical imposition.
That’s why, in my humbled opinion, It’s time for the Derrick Jones Jr. portion of the show.