Celtics Blew a Golden Opportunity


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The Boston Celtics went home for Game 6 last night with a 3-2 series lead and the Miami Heat on the ropes. Coming off a 102-82 win in Game 4 followed by a 93-80 win in Game 5 the C's had all the momentum to close out the series. They were even up by 4 with a few minutes left in the game, but then Miami ended the game on a 17-6 run, ultimately leading the C's to losing 111-103. So where did it all go wrong for the C's last night? Let's break it down.


Jimmy Butler


Yeah I'd say that's gonna be a problem. Butler was averaging 9PPG in the three games prior to last night. Going into the game he had missed something like 15 straight shots, but not last night. He was getting anything he wanted, layups, mid-range, he was even hitting threes. Straight up bullying the Celtics on the offensive end. Defensively he was aggressive all night. 4 steals and plenty more tipped passes. He played 46 of 48 minutes, leaving everything out there in a do or die game. It was simply Jimmy Butler's world last night and everybody else was just living in it.


Referees


I hate the referee sucked excuse because it's an easy cop-out, but those refs were garbage last night. Inconsistent calls across the board. Fouls went uncalled, non fouls were called, and my personal favorite call of the night:

Looks like Heat ball to me. Another good example:

Clearly not a foul by Tatum. Even the NBA on ESPN account could see that. Just a terrible night all the way around by the zebras, I guess that's par for the course at this point though.


Shooting/Rebounding



Looking at the box score, the teams were almost identical in every category last night except for one, 3pt shooting. Miami shot 43% from deep to Boston's 33%. Those 4 more made 3s for Miami were essentially the difference in the game. Giving up double the offensive rebounds doesn't help either. The stats are a bit deceiving however because Miami started the game off way better than Boston, especially through the first half. It wasn't until late in the 3rd quarter that Boston really made it a game and looked like they may win. Celtics have to rebound and shoot better in Game 7.


Miami's Defense


I talked about Jimmy Butler's defense earlier, but he wasn't the only one playing good defense. Kyle Lowry had active hands all night, and the team as a whole really stepped up. They had Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum struggling to find quality looks down the late stretch of the game, ultimately leading them to the win. They have to keep that play up on the defensive end in Game 7.


The Celtics can't dwell on Game 6 and must move on to Game 7 tomorrow night. The keys to winning in Miami will be better shooting, Tatum/Brown stepping up, and stopping Jimmy Butler. If they can do these 3 things, they should be looking at a Finals appearance against Golden State.