The pure simplicity of Enes Kanter’s post game is something the Celtics should learn to replicate without him on the floor. Even as a vocal critic of his play, I have to point out how much I liked how the Celtics used him on offense in Game 5. Each and every game we’ve been pleading the Celtics to do one thing: attack vulnerable match ups for 48 minutes. We’ve seen it in bursts by baiting Duncan Robinson into foul trouble, but it hasn’t been a sustained effort. Tyler Herro waltzed his way to 37 points in Game 4 without breaking a sweat because Kemba Walker, Herro’s primary cover, only attempted two shots against him (which Kemba made).
Kanter got most of his run in the second quarter of Game 5 while Miami put two fringe rotation guys on the floor at the same time in Kelly Olynyk and Solomon Hill. Boston took advantage right away:
First, credit goes to Marcus Smart for crushing Hill on a screen, which enables Jaylen Brown to drive the ball. Kanter runs straight past Olynyk to the rim and gets a free lay up.
Here’s Kanter running to the rim again with no resistance:
Kanter is the only interior player on the Celtics with the instinct to convert paint touches into layups. If the Celtics can fine tune Grant Williams and Robert Williams to do this then they’ll be really cooking with gas, but Kanter in short stints will suffice for now. Of course these opportunities were only made possible because of Olynyk forgetting to play defense (happens to the best of us), so I doubt Erik Spoelstra uses him in Game 6.
But even with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo back in the game, Kanter kept going:
Attacking match ups is how Boston can take down Miami. If Kanter is the only guy on the court with the stones to put his shoulder into someone’s chest, then so be it. Whatever offense they can generate that takes advantage of size and doesn’t require burning 16 seconds of shot clock is better than whatever they attempted in their three losses in the series.
My lone complaint from Game 5 was Boston killing their own momentum by trying to manufacture a 2-for-1 shot opportunity to end the third quarter. Boston has 41 points in the quarter and Miami is in absolute free fall.
I’m a big believer in analytics but I truly do not care for the logic behind the end of quarter 2-for-1. Going through the motions for the sake of getting an additional bad shot off does nothing for the offense. Here’s what it lead to:
“But what if you get a good shot off?,” you might ask. Well here’s the thing: if you’re running down the clock for the sake of running down the clock, chances are you’re not getting a good shot. In theory, you can manage the shot clock while also forcing Miami into a mismatch, but I’ve seen enough lazy end-of-quarter possessions this season to know it’s not happening. And it doesn’t take getting into any big brain analysis to recognize how Boston picked apart Miami by getting stops and pushing the ball and how letting time tick away doesn’t help them do that.
Also take note of how casually Herro dribbles up and shoots. Yes, it’s infuriating that the Celtics allowed it to happen, but it’s exactly how I’d like to see the Celtics play. The Heat play loose, confident, and smart basketball. The Celtics have mostly played smart basketball, so I hope their confidence came back after a win.