Through two games, it’s been a one sided affair to say the least. The Celtics now stand just two games shy of a third consecutive exit from the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs, causing many to wonder if the national media was correct in predicting an early fall from grace for Boston in this postseason.
While things may look bleak at the moment, I would caution the nay-sayers. The Celtics can still control its future with some slight modifications and adjustments in their series versus the Chicago Bulls.
Here’s what’s going wrong and how Brad Stevens and the Celtics can combat it:
- Rebounding (offensive and defensive)
- Perimeter Defense and overall Defensive Intensity
Boston may not be able to win the game on the boards but creating a favorable turnover number and forcing more difficult shots on the perimeter would help bridge the gap in a different way. The Celtics are at their best when they are playing physical and fast, neither are happening consistently right now and it is showing with the highlight of their rebounding deficiencies.
- Chicago’s veteran guards
Wade on the other hand has been mostly contained but is hitting open shots and making the open opportunities when afforded. Both players having success has opened the floor for others like Robin Lopez under the basket and Bobby Portis (Game 1), Nikola Mirotic (Game 2) on the perimeter for open looks that have been falling easily for Chicago through two games.
- See above, DEFENSE!
- 'Space and Pace' not producing consistent offense
- Good old fashioned pick & roll offense
The pick-and-roll will pull the basket protectors out from under the hoop to allow Thomas a better brand of shot when driving and will also allow him to be the playmaker in getting Horford more shots either rolling to the hole or popping up for good open threes. Lastly, Rondo’s defensive tactics tend to lead to fouls when defending his man with the ball. Getting him in early foul trouble would be an added bonus.
The beauty of the NBA playoffs is every series is a best-of-seven. This allows Boston time to regroup and give it a shot to get back into this series with a pair of games in Chicago. Expect Boston to come out with an aggressive game plan that brings the series back to the TD Garden before it’s all said and done…
Boston in six.
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