MIAMI — The Miami Heat are on the verge of returning to the NBA Finals once again after taking both road games over Boston to begin the series before trouncing the Celtics in Miami in Game 3.
They have done it with contributions up and down the roster, starting at the top with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo but with equally important impact coming from role players like Kyle Lowry, Gabe Vincent, Max Strus and Caleb Martin.
In a Monday edition of the Locked On NBA podcast, host Nick Angstadt was joined by Locked On NBA Insider Howard Beck to break down how Miami has exceeded expectations so significantly in this series.
Through three games, the Heat are shooting 52 percent from the field compared to just 46 percent for the Celtics. Miami has four players scoring 15 or more points per game versus just two for Boston.
“The Heat at their best, they move the ball really well. They’re a team that has not a ton of elite shot creation,” Beck explained. “They rely on ball and player movement, and they’re a lot of fun because of that.”
Their confidence flows from Butler and head coach Erik Spoelstra, and they have gotten better and more steady as the playoffs have rolled on.
“That kind of toughness means you stick to what you do and what you do best, even when the other team tries to take it away from you,” Beck said.
From Boston’s standpoint, the offense has looked outright lazy at times.
“They just seem stuck in the mud, desperate, not really running anything, just kind a lot of one-on-one, and it doesn’t look like the Celtics we saw dominate parts of the last two seasons,” Beck said.
The Celtics hung their hats on defense last season but have put up little resistance to the Heat in this series.
“These are just guys that are hungrier. They look hungrier than the Celtics right now,” Angstadt said. “They look like they have more to prove than the Celtics right now.”