Boston Celtics’ struggles against Miami a symptom of season-long issues

Malcolm Brogdon, the guard for the Boston Celtics, has attributed the team’s difficulties against Miami in the Eastern Conference finals to a lack of consistency against opponents throughout the season. The team’s identity has waned for the entire year, and its defense has slipped, he added. During an off-day availability session before Game 4 on Tuesday night, Brogdon said that teams with a strong identity, such as Miami and Denver, have a significant advantage. They play by it every single night and are incredibly committed to it. On the other hand, the Celtics’ identity has waned throughout the season, and they have been trying to figure out who they are. While they are an incredibly talented scoring team, their defense is not consistent every night, and when they don’t make shots, they struggle.

The Celtics have struggled over the past week, going from the high of Jayson Tatum scoring 51 points to knock off their rivals, the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, to losing two straight games at home to Miami at the beginning of this series. They have experienced fourth-quarter implosions before being run out of the Kaseya Center on Sunday night in Game 3 under an avalanche of Heat shot-making, leaving them on the brink of elimination.

After Sunday’s demoralizing loss, Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla admitted that Boston’s defense has regressed. After being ranked second in the regular season, the defense is allowing three more points per 100 possessions in the postseason and has dropped to 10th among playoff teams. Brogdon said that the team hasn’t been consistent defensively throughout the playoffs, and issues that began to crop up against the Atlanta Hawks and 76ers over the first two rounds are coming back to haunt the Celtics.

The Celtics have struggled with virtually everything in this series. Jaylen Brown is shooting 37% from the field and 2-for-20 from 3. As a team, Boston is shooting under 30% from behind the arc. The most telling stat about the Celtics’ season is that they are 36-2 when hitting at least 40% of their 3-pointers, and 29-31 when shooting below that, as they’ve done in all three games of this series.

The Celtics, just like their forever rivals out west, the Los Angeles Lakers, are facing the uphill battle of trying to become the first team in NBA history to recover from a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series to advance. Of the prior 149 teams in that position that failed, only three forced a seventh game. However, Mazzulla said he and his players must focus on the immediate task, which is to get a win to extend the series by another game and another 48 hours.

The Celtics allowed the Heat to shoot 57% overall, go 19-for-35 from 3-point range and romp all over them in Game 3, essentially celebrating Miami’s stunning turnaround over the past several weeks. The Heat, who trailed the Bulls inside the final three minutes of the second play-in game here, are just one win from the NBA Finals. If Miami gets there, it will have knocked off the teams with the two best records in the league, Milwaukee and Boston.

Until the Celtics lose a fourth time, they still have life. At some point, there has to be a team to pull off the ultimate comeback, and that’s what the Celtics are hoping for, added Brogdon. They still believe they’re the better team, even though they haven’t played like it in these three games. But there is always a first.

The Boston Celtics are struggling to stay afloat in the Eastern Conference finals against Miami. Malcom Brogdon, the Celtics guard, attributes their struggles to a lack of consistency against opponents throughout the season. Miami and Denver, who have a strong identity, are incredibly committed to it, and this consistency is what gives them an advantage over other teams. The Celtics’ identity has waned throughout the season, and they have struggled to figure out who they are. The Celtics have struggled with virtually everything in this series, and they are facing the uphill battle of trying to become the first team in NBA history to recover from a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series to advance. However, until the Celtics lose a fourth time, they still have life, and there is always a first.

NBA

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