The Celtics shook off another rough start with Marcus Smart’s intensity missing due to an illness and oblique injury. Brad Stevens shook up lineups into the second, when he found a wing-heavy group with Semi Ojeleye he rolled with for over 20 minutes as Kemba Walker scored 29 and flipped the game upside down with his playmaking in the second quarter.
Boston won 112-93 and leapt over the Heat to second place in the east. Video from after the game is below, courtesy of CLNS Media.
Brad Stevens: “We played really hard in the second and third quarter defensively, we had two of our best quarters of the year.”
Stevens attempted using two bigs with Gordon Hayward and Marcus Smart out on Wednesday. The Heat’s speed hurt them, so Stevens returned to wing-heavy lineups with a short rotation. Semi Ojeleye used the adjustment to receive more run, “I just think he’s really improved.”
Jayson Tatum: “ I feel like we try to ease into the game a little too much, me included.”
Tatum discussed Boston’s continued slow starts and how he’s adjusting to blitzes that are coming toward him recently.
Kemba Walker: “Miami is definitely one of the teams that blitzes me a lot.”
Walker watched the Celtics get on a string defensively without Smart in the second quarter after getting off to a rough start. He heard Ojeleye, who played heavily through the middle portions of the game, calling out offensive movement. Jaylen Brown’s performance, Kemba said, will be the x-factor for the Celtics.
Jaylen Brown: “Switching, being up, ball pressure and stuff like that helped us get more acclimated into the game.”
Brown blew a kiss to Kelly Olynyk on the Heat’s bench, “all love,” after a three during his 10-for-20, 31-point performance. Olynyk said Brown would miss his three-point attempt and wasn’t sure if he saw it, “he felt it though.”
Miami Heat —
Kelly Olynyk: “(Jaylen Brown) an elite two-way player.”
Olynyk played with entirely different players in four seasons with the Celtics. He returned to Boston to see one of his few remaining former teammates, Brown.
Jimmy Butler: “We didn’t bring it tonight.”
The Garden Report —
On the bench: “It’s hurting a bit ... (but) Brad Wanamaker’s been playing very good basketball” -Josue Pavon