NBA playoffs 2020: 10 key questions before Celtics-Warmth Jap Convention finals showdown – CBS Sports actions

The Boston Celtics squeaked by the Toronto Raptors in seven games to compose it to the Jap Convention finals, while the Miami Warmth wished wonderful 5 to have interaction out the Milwaukee Bucks. Both teams are stingy and switchable defensively, and each and every safe offense from a vary of sources. The third-seeded Celtics are broadly regarded as the favorites, but the Warmth are the rest but an on a popular foundation No. 5 seed. Listed below are 10 questions to preview the series, which begins on Tuesday:

1. Can the Celtics take care of Miami’s zone?

Boston did not safe previous the Raptors on the flexibility of its offense, which looked in particular out of kinds in opposition to zone protection. The box-and-one made it sophisticated for Kemba Walker to construct up his rhythm working purchase-and-rolls and for Boston to generate footage that the identical ways they on the total enact. Miami is aware of this, and it performed extra zone than any assorted team in the NBA this season. 

Maybe the second round ready the Celtics for what’s coming. They had been in space-fixing mode your total time, and their instructing workers will guarantee that they received’t be shocked if the Warmth originate Sport 1 in a 2-3 zone. It is miles also most likely, though, that zoning up is merely an efficient capacity to fight basically the most straightforward thing Boston does when it has possession of the ball: giving it to Walker and atmosphere monitors for him. 

One thing that could perhaps compose a zone less tenable is having one other playmaker and shooter in the lineup, which brings us to…

2. What’s up with Hayward?

Gordon Hayward went thru a shrimp community workout after practice on Monday and “looked impartial correct when he modified into going thru it,” coach Brad Stevens talked about, “but there is a huge inequity between doing that and in actuality getting into into a game.” He received’t play in the opener, but when he’s supplied after that and can approximate his play in the usual season, he can trade the feel of the Celtics’ offense. 

Hayward had a usage rate of wonderful 20.6 percent this season, but that drastically undersells his skills and the strategy in which critical he could perhaps merely also be in a series be pleased this. What makes Boston uncommon is that, at paunchy power, it would compose matchup complications with four perimeter gamers, making it sophisticated for defenses to zero in on any of them or hide a traditional defender. Hayward is equally joyful rising performs for others as he’s for himself, which could now not be talked about about Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown, so his presence naturally presents the offense extra pop. 

3. How will the Celtics match up defensively?

The luxury of starting four multipositional defenders is that Stevens has all sorts of choices. I’m most drawn to who’s on Goran Dragic and who’s on Bam Adebayo before every thing of Sport 1.

First Crew All-Protection guard Marcus Clear is the glaring choice to unhurried down Dragic, who modified into one of many league’s finest reserves in the usual season and has been a phenomenal starter in the playoffs, a huge driver of Miami’s success on offense. Tatum is an intelligent different, though, and could perhaps be ready to disrupt Dragic’s rhythm with his length — he and Brown each and every spent moderately a ramification of time guarding Raptors guards Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet in the second round (and will presumably each and every draw Jimmy Butler accountability).

Daniel Theis appears to be like be pleased the default matchup for Adebayo, but I will bet Boston will get artistic at some level in the series. If Stevens experiments with Brown and even Clear on him, that you might demand Adebayo to strive to bully his capacity to the rim and safe to the free throw line. In that scenario, though, the big man is in total the one who will get known as for the substandard. Which brings us to…

4. Can the Celtics take care of the Bam stuff?

The Warmth safe a fantastic quantity of mileage out of Adebayo doing stuff that opposing teams don’t look too most incessantly. On offense he’s a total weirdo, form of a hybrid of Draymond Inexperienced and Domantas Sabonis, unconventional All-Stars of their safe ethical, but with unprecedented extra foot bustle and explosiveness than either of them. 

Adebayo will push the ball off of defensive rebounds and accumulate the Warmth straightforward buckets off of dribble-handoffs. When he has the ball at the elbow, Miami confuses defenses the identical capacity the Golden Utter Warriors did, with monitors and cuts that most incessantly end with Adebayo earning an aid — and if he senses you are taking part in him for the rush, he’ll fortunately attack the basket himself. Boston is aware of all about his chemistry with Duncan Robinson, and if it decides to hide Theis in other places, it’s potentially for the features of switching when the two of them are concerned about an motion.

5. Is matchup-searching the acknowledge in opposition to the Warmth? 

The Celtics’ offensive method is also fully assorted than it modified into in the second round. “Isolation is now not the acknowledge,” Stevens talked about two weeks ago, on the different hand it would also be now. Whereas the Warmth is in total a devastating defensive team, they safe about a traditional particular particular person defenders of their rotation. The Indiana Pacers had been at their finest in the first round as soon as they attacked Dragic, Robinson and Tyler Herro one-on-one. Miami can counter this by giving extra minutes to Andre Iguodala and Derrick Jones Jr., but that could perhaps mean sacrificing spacing on the loads of end. 

Boston appears to be like uniquely suited to thunder the Warmth right here, in particular as soon as they’re switching ball monitors. In these playoffs the Celtics had been unprecedented extra of a purchase-and-roll team and safe had shrimp success in isolation, but championship contenders safe so to play assorted ways in opposition to assorted opponents. This matchup makes me mediate of their second-round series two years ago, by which they most incessantly centered the Philadelphia 76ers‘ J.J. Redick, Dario Saric, Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova

6. Will the Warmth stop this hot from deep?

Miami modified in a most fundamental capacity when it modified Meyers Leonard with Jae Crowder and got Herro relief from injure. Sooner than Crowder’s debut on Feb. 9, Miami modified into ninth in 3-level frequency and second in accuracy, per Cleaning The Glass. Within the seeding games, with Herro wholesome, wonderful the Houston Rockets shot 3s extra most incessantly, but its percentage fell to 35 percent, which is around league realistic. Within the playoffs, the Warmth safe had basically the most straightforward of each and every worlds: 41.9 percent of their footage had been 3s and they also safe made 38.5 percent of them. Both marks fallacious fourth. 

Miami will most likely be sophisticated to prevent if Crowder, a used Celtic, continues shooting 40 percent on 8.3 makes an are trying per game. Boston’s opponents most incessantly have interaction moderately a ramification of 3s but compose a low percentage of them; in the second round, Toronto shot 30 percent or worse in all four of its losses. 

7. Can Herro put this up?

Herro has made 40 percent of his 3s in the playoffs, but that does not show the story. He’s making them in crunch time, he’s making them off the dribble and, extra importantly, he has earned coach Erik Spoesltra’s trust as a playmaker. In a seeding game in opposition to the Phoenix Suns, he had 25 facets, 10 assists and eight rebounds; in the clincher in opposition to the Bucks, he had 14 facets, six assists and eight rebounds.

The Celtics, with their army of cruise defenders, are Herro’s wonderful space yet. I could perhaps look them attempting to have interaction him out by placing Clear on him.

8. Can Boston defend with out fouling?

Butler got to the motorway nine instances a game in the usual season, and that number has climbed to 10.7 in the playoffs. Dragic and Adebayo can wreak havoc this capacity, too, and the Warmth led the league in free throw rate in the usual season (and are second in the playoffs). This is something to gaze, in particular for the rationale that Celtics had been 24th in free throw rate defensively and are bodily each and every on the perimeter and in the paint.

When Boston is substandard-vulnerable, the perpetrator is in total Theis. Grant Williams, who closed out Sport 7 in opposition to Toronto at middle, also tends to purchase up fouls on the inside. Which brings us to…

9. What’s the Celtics’ frontcourt rotation?   

When Adebayo has been off the court, Miami has either had Kelly Olynyk in his location or gone with out a huge man. On this respect, Boston is less predictable — if Stevens needs vertical spacing and shot-blocking, he can call on Robert Williams; if he needs switchability and sound rotations, he can rush with Grant Williams; if he needs offensive rebounding and put up-up scoring, he can strive Enes Kanter. I’d now not even be disturbed to peek Semi Ojeleye safe some minutes at the 5 in opposition to Adebayo. 

Theis most incessantly performs 25-30 minutes per game, but he got 47 in double-extra time in Sport 6. If Stevens is procuring for some offensive punch, he could perhaps rush with Robert Williams or Kanter when Theis goes to the bench. They each and every rush away Boston vulnerable in opposition to Miami’s purchase-and-rolls, though, so I suspect there’ll most likely be a risk right here for Grant Williams or Ojeleye, each and every of whom are formally listed at 6-foot-6, to play “middle.” 

10. How will Miami match up defensively?

If the Warmth elect now to not make thunder of a ton of zone, there are several smaller questions right here: 

  • If Hayward is starting, where enact Dragic and Robinson hide?
  • How will they thunder Adebayo?
  • How unprecedented switching will they enact?
  • Who guards Tatum?

Boston could perhaps raise Hayward off the bench, at the least before every thing, but when he begins (and is efficient) then Miami could perhaps even safe to put in mind taking Robinson or Dragic out of the starting lineup for Iguodala. It is miles excellent to set Adebayo on Theis on story of he can switch Walker’s ball monitors and otherwise gallop around as a aid defender, but when Tatum will get going, Spoelstra could perhaps throw Adebayo on him. 

After guarding Giannis Antetokounmpo, Crowder could perhaps draw the Tatum assignment. Butler, on the different hand, is also extra suited to it. These matchups could perhaps merely now not matter all that unprecedented, though, could perhaps merely silent Spoelstra put to replace every thing. 

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