Heat Nation, do not panic. The Miami Heat aren’t just about to pull off a historic choke versus the Boston Celtics despite two straight clunker performances.
All the talk right now is how Boston could potentially pull off the greatest comeback in NBA history. No team has ever overcome a 0-3 deficit in the playoffs. But with the heavily favored Celtics rattling off two straight dominant wins over the 8-seeded Heat, there’s a sense that the better team might have just finally woke up from its slumber.
Miami has failed to top the century mark in both of its defeats. They scored just 99 points in Game 4 and 97 points in Game 5.
Nonetheless, despite the discouraging losses, there are some positives to draw from them. Here are a couple of reasons why Miami won’t become the first team ever to choke away a 3-0 series lead.
1. Playoff Jimmy
We’ve seen that smiling face on the bench. In fact, he flashed it again in Game 5. Jimmy Butler does not look worried. And time and time again throughout his postseason, the six-time All-Star has proven to come up big when his team needs him the most.
Butler is averaging 28.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 5.5 assists while shooting 50.5 percent from the field in these playoffs.
Game 6 is essentially a must-win for Miami. The Celtics have snatched the momentum after staving off elimination for two games, and they did so in convincing fashion. The Heat, meanwhile, already have their backs against the wall, even though they have a chance to close the series at home. A loss would be devastating given they need to travel once again to Boston. All the pressure would be on them not to pull off the biggest choke in NBA history.
With all those storylines facing Miami, look for Butler to put on his Playoff Jimmy costume to lead Miami back to the Finals. Butler usually plays his best when his back is against the wall. We’ve seen it before from his epic Game 5 performance in the 2020 NBA Finals.
2. Erik Spoelstra will make adjustments
Erik Spoelstra is one of the best coaches in the NBA and will undoubtedly have some adjustments up his sleeve ahead of Game 6.
“Our offense was disjointed a little bit,” Spoelstra said in his postgame press conference. “We weren’t able to initiate our offense. Get the ball where we needed it to go in spots where you can operate.
“If we can get Jimmy in his comfort zone and strength zones more consistently, he’ll be just fine. We’ll work on that in the next 24 hours.”
The Heat committed 16 turnovers in Game 5, with six of them coming up from center Bam Adebayo. As Spoelstra said, the Heat offense was a bit disjointed, and it was painfully clear with how they weren’t in sync in terms of taking care of the ball.
Boston also seems to have figured out Miami defensively over the last two games. The Celtics’ offense has been humming, and a lot of that has to do with a better flowing offense and ball movement. Jayson Tatum tallied 11 assists in the Game 5 win. In Game 4, they had 28 assists as a team.
As one of the best defensive minds in the league, Spoelstra should have a scheme in mind to put out a more disruptive defense for the Celtics as the Heat try to close out this series in Miami.