Before Game 1 last night, many NBA media members and analysts were calling for the Celtics to sweep the Heat. That is not going to happen after Miami stole Game 1 on the road 123-116 vs Boston. Despite their loss, Marcus Smart’s 10 assists in the first half ties the most by any Celtic in a playoff half since Rajon Rondo in 2012. He would have just one assist in the second half, however.
As a team, Boston’s defense was not good enough in the second half yesterday. All-star SG Jaylen Brown was vocal about that after their Game 1 loss and said their game plan needs to be defense. When Boston is locked in on defense, they are able to hold their opponents to under 90 points.
Philadelphia scored 86 points in Game 6 and 88 points in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Boston’s defense was nowhere near that level vs the Heat last night and that is why they are down 1-0 in the series.
Marcus Smart had 10 assists in the 1st half, his most in any playoff half of his career.
That ties the most by any Celtic in a playoff half since Rajon Rondo had 10 in the 1st half of Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals vs Heat. pic.twitter.com/Xay0YcSJeQ
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 18, 2023
Marcus Smart has 10 assists in the first half, but only one in the second half of Game 1
At the end of the first half last night, Marcus Smart had 10 assists. That is tied for the most by any Celtic in a playoff half since Rajon Rondo in 2012. However, Smart would record just one more assist in the second half. Boston’s demise came in the third quarter when they were outscored 46-25.
Their nine-point halftime lead was quickly erased by an incredible third-quarter shooting performance by the Miami Heat. They were 17-26 from the field as a team and 6-9 from deep in the third. Miami scored nine fast-break points, 10 second-chance points, and eight points off four Boston turnovers.
The Boston Celtics are still more than capable of winning this series. They cannot afford any more slipups like last night. Allowing 46 points in the third would be the demise of the Celtics in Game 1. Head coach Joe Mazzulla was visibly frustrated with how his team was playing defense in the second half. So much so that he slammed his clipboard on the ground in frustration.