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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Celtics vs. Sixers, Sport 5: 3 issues to look at

A heartbreaking loss on the final possession of additional time isn’t how most of us envisioned the Boston Celtics ending sport 4 of their second-round playoff sequence towards the Philadelphia 76ers. Sports activities will be like that, although. One second you’re driving the crest of a wave. The subsequent, that wave comes crashing down with a thud, and actuality begins to set again in.

For the Celtics, that actuality is that they spurned a chance to go 3-1 up on the sequence and head again house to shut issues out in entrance of a raucous Celtics crowd. As an alternative, the Celtics at the moment are in a finest 2-out-of-3 contest with a rival that possesses a former MVP and the present MVP – each of whom are beginning to make their presence felt.

Doc Rivers drew first blood in sport 4, and now, all eyes can be on Joe Mazzulla as he continues to counterpunch his approach via his maiden NBA postseason. I like counterpunchers, although. They’re good, witty, fast, and prefer to set traps, all issues that may show you how to win a battle of the minds. As such, let’s have a look at three issues that might affect the Celtics’ possibilities of successful on Tuesday night time.

Determining Philly’s facet pick-and-rolls

NBA: MAY 07 NBA Playoffs - Celtics at 76ers

Picture by Stephen Nadler/PxImages/Icon Sportswire by way of Getty Photos

I wrote about this earlier right this moment, so it’s solely becoming that I checklist it as one thing we have to keep watch over. In sport 4, the Sixers discovered continued success all through the primary 2.5 quarters by operating empty-side pick-and-roll actions that occurred on the wing. The Celtics’ protection struggled to include James Harden and Joel Embiid as they started to assault the house the dearth of strongside low man created, and shortly, the Sixers’ two-man sport started to look as harmful as marketed.

Fortuitously, the Celtics started to determine issues out halfway via the third, shut down the Sixers’ offense, and clawed their approach again into the sport. Now, the problem can be limiting the effectiveness of these screening actions from the leap. Canceling screens, having an extra helper or roamer accessible, and ‘icing’ the ball-handler as he comes off the display will all be helpful instruments on the Celtics’ disposal.

At this level, it’s fairly clear: restrict the Sixers’ screening sport, and you’re taking away their most potent weapon. Having the TD Backyard crowd behind you and Joe Mazzulla’s changes in your pocket ought to all go an extended option to making these screening actions as troublesome as doable.

Get Jayson Tatum going.

NBA: MAY 07 NBA Playoffs - Celtics at 76ers

Picture by Stephen Nadler/PxImages/Icon Sportswire by way of Getty Photos

For all of the unfavorable issues mentioned about Jayson Tatum’s first-half efficiency in sport 4, the actual fact is that he produced an entire sport. Dominant on protection, controlling the glass, and discovering his scorer’s contact when his workforce wanted him probably the most — Tatum placed on a present.

However, discovering a option to get Tatum going early and avoiding his notoriously sluggish begins could possibly be one other approach wherein the Celtics can leap out to an early lead. Positive, you’re most likely going to sacrifice a few assists and rebounds from Tatum if you happen to characteristic him on offense early. However I’m certain we are able to all agree {that a} high-scoring night time from Boston’s star participant is precisely what he wants at this level within the post-season.

I’m calling a 35+ level night time, with 10 rebounds and 6 assists from Tatum on this sport, as a result of when the lights begin to shine brightly, he often finds a option to ship, and the lights don’t get a lot brighter than a go-ahead sport towards the Sixers within the postseason.

Get Jaylen Brown extra second-half pictures.

NBA: MAY 07 NBA Playoffs - Celtics at 76ers

Picture by Stephen Nadler/PxImages/Icon Sportswire by way of Getty Photos

There may be genuinely no purpose why Jaylen Brown ought to solely be taking 5 second-half pictures in a sport, not to mention a postseason contest the place he’s seemed unstoppable across the rim. But, twice on this sequence Brown has discovered himself working as a spectator within the latter elements of video games, and it begs the query: ‘Why aren’t extra units being run for him?’

Absolutely, Brown holds extra worth as a scorer than he does as a flooring spacer? I get it; having him on the weakside is a assured approach of protecting the protection sincere and producing extra lanes to the rim. But, ideally, should not Brown be the one tasked with ending on the rim? In spite of everything, that is his and Tatum’s workforce — the whole rotation appears at its finest when each of them are supplied the liberty to play their video games.

Discovering a option to get the ball in Brown’s fingers with out limiting Tatum’s means to affect the sport has been a problem for the reason that Brad Stevens period, however that doesn’t imply you ignore the issue and have certainly one of them in every half of the sport. So, I’m curious to see how Mazzulla appears to resolve an issue that has already hindered Boston’s offense in 2 video games this sequence.

Closing ideas

I don’t even need to take into account having to return to Philadelphia in a win-or-go-home scenario. So, I’m manifesting a Celtics win tonight. They’ve been an ideal bounce-back workforce for over a yr at this level, so anticipating them to come back out on the TD Backyard and care for enterprise isn’t an excessive amount of to ask.

I don’t count on Harden to have one other large sport, and Embiid will run out of fuel ultimately. As such, the Celtics ought to look to construct an early lead after which preserve the Sixers at arm’s size till their nothing left of their fuel tank. I, for one, need to be waking up on Wednesday excited to get a re-watch in and soak within the prospects of one other Japanese Convention ultimate run, however that every one begins with successful on Tuesday night time.

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