Does the Boston Celtics’ fate hinge on their ability to defend their perimeter?
Stan van Gundy believes it does.
In the aftermath of the Celtics’ win over the Miami Heat on Friday night in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, the former NBA coach shared his advice on how Boston can win Game 6 and tie the series at 3-3. Van Gundy offered two strategic tips after former NBA player Dennis Scott predicted the Celtics would force Game 7.
“Well it’s amazing how things switch every 48 hours,” he said. “So the Celtics had to stay alive, they fixed it. Now I think Miami’s going to figure out a way to fix things … but with that being said, coach, I think I’m going your way. I think the Celtics stay alive in Game 6.
“I think Boston (will win) again,” van Gundy added. “But look, it’s going to come down to a couple of things: If the pace of the game is a little quicker, that helps Boston. I’m not just talking about fast breaks. You saw in that third quarter they got into their offense quicker before Miami could lock in. I think that’s important to Boston. They also have to take care of the ball, that’s going to be huge. Obviously both teams are going to play hard.
“For Miami, I think it’s as simple as they’re going to have to find a way to make some shots. This was the second-best 3-point-shooting team in the league during the season. Over the last four games, they’re shooting 26 percent from 3. They were under 20 percent from 3 tonight. Their percentage has gone down every single game in the series, their number of 3-point makes has gone down every single game in the series. That’s going to have to change and, quite frankly, they need more out of Jimmy Butler. Second half tonight, three-points, no rebounds, three assists. That’s not going to get it done from your All-Star.”
The Celtics’ 13-point win in Game 5 was the largest margin of victory of any game in the series to date. Perhaps Boston relied on an effective tactic to swing the series in its favor?
The NBA community will find out at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sunday when the Celtics and Heat face off in Game 6.