How Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo forced the Celtics’ defense back to its old ways

The most important thing going into this series is that the drop is a thing of the past Boston. back Tyler Herro and hot Two years ago, the backcourt against the Celtics Daniel Theis Going back to the screen, the thinking was that Boston would do away with that this time around by switching on each screen.

Not that the Celtics aren’t doing pitching coverage anymore. Rather, they usually don’t have to use it when they’re facing a team that can shoot the ball off a bounce.

Then, Herro went into the first inning, saw the drop, and got scorched. So why did the Celtics fall behind?

Mainly because Bam Adebayo. Boston didn’t fall across the board, but players sat on his screen because he wasn’t a shooter.The Celtics are playing Giannis Antetokounmpo As the rolling man of the last series, so this is nothing new.

In the past, Boston has defended screens within reach, only a few feet below it. This usually means the defensive big man will surround the ball handler, then the screen setter will roll into the paint and the third defender will “mark” him to stop his roll.

Early in Game 1, Boston decided to drop all the way deep to the free throw line so it could limit that to two defenders and leave marks on all shooters on the floor. Herro and Adebayo had a pick-and-roll with the Celtics falling apart, probably because he wasn’t surprised to see it coming.

“I kind of expected it to come in, especially Theis and the five of them,” Herro said. “If they make adjustments, we’ll see how they do in the second game. We’ll see.”

The main problem with declining coverage Jimmy Butler And Adebayo is Boston’s big man, and he doesn’t play well in front of Butler when he goes around screens. He can pull up from 18 feet without any interruptions in the frontcourt. Butler didn’t really feel the back of his men trying to block the shot from behind, and he turned around, making it nearly impossible to block him from behind.

Grant Williams Going too far, he got Butler all the way to the free throw line, and while Williams was watching the shot, Boston would again have the closest guard competing from behind. The Celtics didn’t get Antetokounmpo this deep, so it’s odd that they would do the same with the best midrange scorer in the league.

Grant Williams may have fallen so deep that Robert Williams Don’t have to go to the rim unless he absolutely has to.He is in charge PJ Tucker In the corner, so Boston doesn’t want to give up that corner unless necessary. Grant Williams sitting in the back row at least allowed the Celtics to keep the ball in front of them, but when Butler was in rhythm, the layup and 15-foot gap were negligible. Boston barely felt out of rhythm on the perimeter in the second half. Then, when he went deep enough to bring that extra big into the game, the Celtics got too happy and made him too foul-prone.

“The defense was too aggressive,” Udoka said. “(Butler) got some favorable matchups, he also drew some fouls, and then even if our big man touched for no reason — we knew he was a guy who wanted to get to the free throw line, wanted a fake and Trying to draw fouls and (we) did a terrible job of showing our hands and playing out there. Even Rob and Theis and some of them came up and put him at the free throw line for no reason, so (There are) a lot of areas that we can easily clear.”

When Miami screened with non-bigs, Boston would switch to Butler, even if he wasn’t a threat to pull up from the 3-point line. The best thing to do is that the Celtics need to play him at the high post so he doesn’t go downhill.

The problem is that Butler absolutely loves the big man to play him tight. He has a lower center of gravity than Segway and has some of the best body control of the era, so he’s always looking to start contact by going down low and hitting the ball up, trying to lift defenders off his feet. When Rob Williams hits Butler, he has to move with Butler, and when Butler hits, he can’t hold himself in place for balance.

During the turnover spree in the third quarter, Boston started blitzing Butler’s screens, as Butler would often run to the mid-range so he could get the pass and start the offense from the high post.This is the first way he tries to be picky Peyton Pritchardthis may be the moment Boston wants to give up because it can bear Gabe Vincent Trying to pull up from the midrange.

Boston’s main goal should be to keep Butler out of the post, where he’s happy to dribble, post and fake again and again until someone bites.

“To get a guy on the line 18 times, (we) have to play smarter,” Theis said. “We know he’s a big guy, so all of us, we…have to get smarter and put our hands back and let him make tough shots. Like, he’s got some tough shots and can shake hands but not put his hands on him. Rescue and put him at the free throw line a lot of times because he’s a great free throw shooter. It’s easy to score and gives him rhythm. So we have to stay away from that.”

Miami’s comfort with pitching screens in the first half didn’t hurt Boston too much, as Boston was impressive at the rim and fired up on offense. But it’s hard to come out of that game feeling like the Celtics offense should get back to what it looked like in the second quarter.

One of the talking points for the Celtics after the game was that they won the other three quarters, which is a bit of a misunderstanding because they shouldn’t need a quarter break to reset the flow of the game. They should have done that in timeouts, but the turnovers were even worse when that happened in the third quarter. Still, it makes sense to feel like they could change their priorities on defense, adapt to Miami’s defensive tendencies on the other side and remain competitive in this series.This will require a lot of work and may get Marcus Smart The return of Game 2 is far from a magical fix.

(Photo: Michael Reeves/Getty Images)

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