This Miami-Boston Eastern Conference Finals Series Sucks

Honestly, the Warriors-Mavs series hasn’t been much better, but we just had yet another blowout on the Eastern side of the bracket.

Furthermore, it was yet another game that was basically decided in the first quarter. Boston was up 29-11 after the first quarter, and wound up winning 102-82, so basically they had a 20 point lead for the whole game. Seriously. It was 29-11 after 1Q, 57-33 at the half, and 76-52 after 3Q.

Miami’s starting 5 scored a grand total of 18 points (7-36 FG) tonight. That’s just abysmal. That’s just unacceptable.

Meanwhile, Jayson Tatum had a great game: 31-8-5 on 8-16 shooting after going 3-14 from the floor for 10 points in Game 3. I want to put Jayson Tatum in the superstar category, but he does have a tendency to disappear for entire games, and that’s something true superstars just don’t do.

Superstars are allowed to have off nights from time to time, I’m not saying they have to be excellent at all times–that’s just unrealistic. But they cannot have games where they’re just totally MIA.

I’m still bullish on Tatum long-term, and he is only 24 years old, but if he’s going to be a championship player, he’s going to have to bring it every night from here on out in these playoffs.

What a horrible game, though–for everyone other than Celtics fans, that is. This is the kind of game that every basketball fan dreams of their team having: no stress at all, you’re comfortably ahead for essentially the entire game. There was no point in this game where Boston was sweating it out.

Unlike Game 3, where the Heat had a big lead for most of the game and then watched it dwindle all the way down to 1 late in the 4th quarter before pulling away.

I guess Game 3 was decent because it got close towards the end, but it was a blowout most of the time.

Game 2 was a complete laugher. Boston won by 25 and was up huge most of the game. They were up 11 after 1Q, 25 at the half and 25 after 3Q.

In Game 1, Boston looked to be in control in the first half with an 8 point lead, but then the Heat went on a huge run in the third quarter, outscoring Boston 39-14 to take a 17 point lead into the 4th quarter, where they would end up winning by a comfortable 11 points.

This series has seen the Heat and Celtics trade off being ice cold, and then red hot from game to game, and sometimes alternating within games.

Now, I think the Celtics are going to win the series, but then again, I thought the Heat were going to win after Game 3.

Injuries have been a factor the whole time. Miami has been dealing with injures to Butler, Lowry and Herro, while Boston has been dealing with injuries to Smart and Robert Williams–and Jayson Tatum looked like he messed up his shoulder bad in Game 3, but then pulled a Paul Pierce and came back out onto the floor after like a minute in the locker room.

I think the injuries have been slightly worse for Miami, and that’s partly why I give Boston the edge, but I also think that if Boston plays their best game, they’re just a bit better than Miami because Boston has better depth and more size.

Of course, I would not be surprised if Miami wins. They’re super scrappy, they have one of the best and most experienced coaches in the league, and they just have a lot of Dudes on that roster.

Could either of these two teams beat the Warriors? Yes, I think so. They might be the only two teams in the league with enough perimeter defense to deal with the Warriors’ shooters. Obviously nobody is shutting down the Steph-Klay-Poole-Wiggins foursome, but these two teams will be able to exploit Golden State’s lack of size–Boston in particular.

So why does this series suck so much? Well, injuries are the easy answer, but then again, Miami won Game 3 even after Butler missed the entire second half. And Boston won tonight without Smart.

In today’s NBA, when you’re looking for the explanation for why a game played out the way it did, you immediately have to look at the three point shooting disparity, because that usually tells the story. Unfortunately, the way the game is today, a lot of the time–although not always–it’s just a three point shooting contest, and whichever team is more efficient from three wins the game.

In today’s NBA, if the other team gets hot from three, and your threes aren’t falling, you’re going to get run out of the building. 20 point leads can evaporate in the blink of an eye if the other team starts raining threes on you.

So let’s go over the three point shooting figures for each game.

Game 1 was pretty much a wash:

  • Boston: 11-34 (32.4%)
  • Miami: 10-30 (33.3%)

Game 2 was a huge Boston advantage:

  • Boston: 20-40 (50%)
  • Miami: 10-34 (29.4%)

Game 3 was a slight Boston advantage, but not enough to tilt the game:

  • Miami: 11-33 (33.3%)
  • Boston: 12-32 (37.5%)

Game 4 was a sizable Miami advantage, but obviously not enough to swing the game:

  • Miami: 14-36 (38.9%)
  • Boston: 8-34 (23.5%)

Boston was 23-44 from two-point range in this game, while Miami was a horrendous 16-54 on twos, or 29.6%. That was the difference in the game.

Ultimately, though, you can’t really point to three point shooting to explain the way this series has played out. There’s just not any sort of correlation to speak of outside of Game 2.

So I really don’t know why this series has been so mercurial. These teams are just very inconsistent.

It seems like whichever team comes out hot wins–outside of Game 1.

I hope the next few games are closer and both teams show more consistency, because this series has been a snoozefest.

I was expecting this to be a gritty, tough, low-scoring series between two elite defenses, but it’s like we haven’t had one game where both teams showed up to play quality ball for all 48 minutes.

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