Once again, the Boston Celtics come away thinking about what could of been after another night of sloppy turnovers in the 4th quarter. The Miami Heat defeated the Celtics 112-109 in a possible season-defining Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. With their backs against the wall, the team is looking at a must-win Game 5 tonight.
Nineteen turnovers plagued the Celtics, especially the seven that came in the fourth quarter. In Game 2, their main problem was lazy ball movement compounded by solid zone defense from the Heat. Following that, it looked as if the Celtics were refreshed and turned a corner against the 2-3 in their win in Game 3. Then, Wednesday night, the Celtics were back to their old antics of stagnant offense and sloppy ball handling.
The solution to any turnover problem is to get into a rhythm and flow of the team’s offense. It sounds simple enough, but the Celtics just could not knock the turnover bug all of Game 4. In Game 3, the team made it a point to attack, attack, attack. It was the perfect solution of using the athletes they have on the wing to carve up the zone. When not aggressive, it led the team to sloppy turnovers.
If you make passes around the zone defense, eventually there will be places where the zone will open up. Jaylen Brown proved this a few times, but he only had a few buckets around the rim. Jayson Tatum started out ice cold and was not aggressive enough in the first half to get his game going that lead to six turnovers. His drive here was what should have happened out of the gate.
This aggressive mindset did not roll over from Monday to Wednesday night. The team was sloppy and careless at seemingly the simplest things throughout the entire game.
At times, it seems as if Marcus Smart and Tatum are making too many passes. They are already attacking the rim, but then chose to make an extra pass. Normally the extra pass is a good formula for a better shot, but it is not the case if you can finish around the rim. Both clips showed early promise attacking the open spots, but then an extra pass derailed the possession. In Games 2 and 4, the turnovers felt contagious. One here, one there, and then the whole team was out of whack.
So, what does this mean for the Celtics moving forward? They now find themselves in a do-or-die scenario. There is no more room for sloppy turnovers and stagnant offensive possessions. They have got to treat each possession like it is their last because it very well could be.
The key and main takeaway will be to get back to what won them Game 3. It circles back to attacking the zone by being aggressive with their wings around the three-point line. This will reduce the turnovers by finding an offensive rhythm that is so critical to this roster. Play solid defense that turns into opportunities on offense and build off of that. The Celtics now have no choice.