Celtics-Heat Game 4: All about adjustments
|06.03.12 at 2:10 pm ET|
WALTHAM — There’s little doubt the Heat will try to get Dwyane Wade more involved in Game 4 as they look to take a 3-1 series lead and have the chance to clinch the Eastern Conference finals at home on Tuesday in South Beach.
But to do that, they will have to solve what the Celtics have been throwing at them – namely double-teams and various switches on coverage. Let Paul Pierce explain:
“We tried to collapse on him when he has the ball,” Pierce said. “He does a lot of isolation from the top [of the circle] so we just try to sink in. We know how great he can be driving to the hole in the half-court. When he comes off the pick-and-roll, we want to trap him as much as possible. We don’t really want to get him going. We know they’re going to get the majority of opportunities between him and LeBron but he’s one of the guys we feel like we can kind of corral with Kevin and myself with the size advantage that we have.”
Do things change if Chris Bosh returns?
“We haven’t seen that,” Pierce added. “We’ll make our adjustments definitely if Bosh is out there playing. You can’t trap as much because he’s another perimeter threat, another scoring threat. We’ll have to see.
“Always in-game decisions and adjustments are important, especially when things don’t work out. That’s part of the game. When one thing isn’t going right, you have to make that adjustment. We figure we have to get to their shooters. They made a lot of 3-point shots in Game 2 so that’s something we had to make an adjustment to get to the shooters a little bit better. We did a better job at that. We did a better job of keeping them out of the paint and did a better job of keeping them off the free throw line. So, every game is different. When you realize your mistakes, that’s when the adjustments come in.”
As for attacking Miami’s defense, even with LeBron James and Wade on the court, Pierce says they have to keep attacking the low post.
“I think we have the size advantage with [Kevin Garnett] and [Brandon Bass], especially when they go small a lot,” Pierce said. “The emphasis is to try to get the ball in the paint as much as possible and if they collapse, find our shooters. That’s been the thing the whole season, we want to play inside-to-out as long as they’re good shots.
“I thought we just moved the ball a lot better. The ball didn’t stick. They’re a great defensive team and when the ball is sticking on one side of the floor and they’re loading up. I thought the ball really moved. We set harder screens, we cut a little bit better and that frees up everybody when we play that way.”
The numbers don’t lie. The Celtics out-rebounded the Heat 44-32 in Game 3. The Heat were 10-for-26 from long distance in Game 2. They were just 5-of-17 in Game 3. They allowed James to get to the free throw line 24 times in Game 2. He attempted just five in Game 3, making just one.
Which brings us to the Game 4 officials: Joey Crawford (65), Bill Kennedy (47) and Greg Willard (66).
How they call the game tonight will have an impact on the style of game that is played. How the Celtics adjust will determine how much of a chance the Celtics have to win the game and tie the series.
“I take a lot,” Rivers said of suggestions on adjustments from his players. “I listen to my players. They’re the ones on the floor, honestly. I can only see so much, and so can my staff. I talk to them all. Some will text. We have an open communication. I always kid them, they want an adjustment usually [when] your guy is kicking their ass and you want to change the coverage somehow. I always joke, only team adjustments will we make, not individual.”