The Celtics are in serious danger of being swept out of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Miami Heat have completely outplayed them in all 3 games so far. With last night’s 26-point beatdown being the most dominant of those wins yet. The Celtics are being exposed. In game 3 Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were held to just 26 combined points in 61 minutes between them.
Brown who killed the Sixers, has been held under 20 points in each of the last two games and scored just 22 points in game one. It felt like he hit every shot he took vs the Sixers. He is 2-20 from 3 vs the Heat. Marcus Smart has been held under 10 in the last two games. All of a sudden the team that couldn’t miss is struggling to hit any shots.
To come back and beat the Heat, they will have to do something no NBA team has ever done. Erase a 0-3 deficit. With how they have looked, that feels incredibly unlikely. Even if they win on Tuesday to avoid the sweep, chances are their season will soon be over, and the Heat will be advancing to the Finals.
Which just makes it all the more annoying that this is the team the Sixers choked against. They had a 3-2 lead over this team. But 5 minutes at the end of game 6, and in all of game 7, they let this team beat them down. We saw the cracks in the Celtics all series. Even in that game 6, Jayson Tatum couldn’t hit water in the middle of the ocean until the 4th quarter.
What is the Dennis Green line? They are who we thought they were, and we let them off the hook. When Green said it, he meant it as saying the Bears were really good, we had them, and let it get away. In this case it’s the opposite. The Celtics are not a great team. They have a ton of talent. But there are serious issues under the surface. Issues the Sixers should have jumped on. But they let the Celtics off the hook by choking worse than they did.
Maybe the Sixers would be in the same position if they did win. Getting embarrassed by the Heat. The Heat have less talent than both the Sixers and the Celtics. But what they have is something that is harder to define. The will to win. Whereas the Sixers rolled over, and the Celtics seem ready to, The Heat are thriving in this championship environment.
But even if the Sixers did go on to lose to the Heat, things would be a lot different right now if they could just get the job done. Clearly this Celtics team was vulnerable. And the fact the Heat so easily capitalize on that, and the Sixers couldn’t, is just another gut punch to what we already went through.