4 Lessons the Miami Heat can learn from the final NBA playoff teams

Minnesota Timberwolves v Philadelphia 76ers
Minnesota Timberwolves v Philadelphia 76ers / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
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Boston Celtics: Remove the pressure points

While most of the focus is on the Celtics’ offense, their defense was quietly the second-best unit in the league. The Heat managed to slow down Boston’s offense in the first round but struggled to score in the series.

That’s because the Celtics have carefully constructed a roster with very few below-average defenders. The starting lineup – Jrue Holiday, Derrick White, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Kristaps Porzingis – is made up of five good-to-great defenders. Across the rotation, they rarely play more than one of their weaker defenders (Payton Pritchard, Sam Hauser) at a time.

For opponents, that means that finding a pressure point is difficult. There is no Tyler Herro to drag into a pick-and-roll and attack in isolation. 

The Heat have too many players like that. Herro, Duncan Robinson and Terry Rozier have all been the target of mismatch-hunting offenses, which makes game-planning against the Heat easier. If there’s a way to improve Miami’s defense from good to great, it’s by replacing those minutes with sturdier defenders.

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