Miami Heat: Game 1’s Second Half Paint Defense Needs To Carry Over

Boston Celtics guard Payton Pritchard (11) attempts a three pointer against the Miami Heat(Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)
Boston Celtics guard Payton Pritchard (11) attempts a three pointer against the Miami Heat(Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Miami Heat will look to go up, 2-0, in their second-round NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals matchup on Thursday night.

After a comeback win over the Boston Celtics Tuesday in Game 1, the Miami Heat now find themselves with the opportunity to completely handle their business at home by taking the first two games of the best of seven series in their building. What will it take to do that though?

Well, they, first off, have to ensure that they get off to a better start. While that is a general phrase, it’s also relative in this scenario.

They always want to get off to the best start possible, but they absolutely cannot begin the same way they did in Game 1. Coming out to look like the least prepared and most fatigued team of the pair, the Miami Heat need not let that occur in Game 2.

The Miami Heat were turnstiles in the first half of the ECF opener. Totally flipping the script at the half, they need to be that version from Game 2’s tip.

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Apart of all of that, they would allow the Celtics to score 42 of their 62 first-half points in the paint. The Miami Heat were “cones” on defense, to quote the recently dubbed Sportstalk sensation, Patrick Beverley.

They would allow the Boston Celtics to penetrate their defense, at will, all throughout the first half of play. Here’s the kicker though.

The Celtics would only finish the entire game with 48 points in the paint.

That means that throughout the entire final 24 minutes of action, the totality of the second half of play, the Boston Celtics would only be able to score six more points in the paint. That’s the type of defense and defensive intensity that the Miami Heat will need to carry over into Game 2.

The Miami Heat can’t afford to allow Boston to come out and find a rhythm, as the early parts of Game 1 show you what that has the potential to look like.

If they want to make sure that they go to Boston with a, 2-0, series lead on this Celtics team, they need to keep them out of the lane, forcing them to establish themselves, maintain the productivity, and then finally, beat you from the perimeter if they can.

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Based on the efficiency, or lack thereof, of the Celtics in Game 1, the Miami Heat should like their chances in doing that. That doesn’t mean that they should allow poorly contested perimeter shots either, but what it does mean is that they, in no shape, form, or fashion, should ever allow them or anyone else 42 of 62 points in the paint for a half.