Boston Celtics

Love suggests Heat have ‘way better game plan' for Celtics in Game 4

Does Erik Spoelstra have another trick up his sleeve?

NBC Universal, Inc.

The Boston Celtics' first-round matchup with the Miami Heat has been a series of adjustments to date.

And according to Kevin Love, the Heat have another one cooked up for Monday's Game 4.

The Celtics stifled Miami on defense in Game 3, holding the Heat to a season-low 84 points on 41.6 percent shooting (32.1 percent from 3-point range) in a 20-point victory at the Kaseya Center that gave Boston a 2-1 series advantage.

While discussing what Miami needs to do better to avoid a similar result in Game 4, Love hinted at some strategy changes for the Heat.

"I think the Celtics inserted their will (in Game 3),” Love told reporters at Monday at Miami's shootaround, via MassLive's Brian Robb. “They did a lot of things on the defensive end that made us uncomfortable.

"On the offensive end, we didn’t take advantage of our ball movement, some of our mismatches and the guys we wanted to attack on that side of the ball. But I think we have a way better game plan (for Game 4).”

Love declined to elaborate on the specifics of that game plan, appearing to walk his comments back by placing the onus on Miami's players for executing.

“So much of it was mental; it wasn’t even the game plan,” Love added. “I thought (it was) a really great setup of our game plan, we just didn’t execute. A lot of that was up here between the ears. Just making sure we execute that and let the chips fall.

"I don’t think that we played as hard as we typically do in (Game 3). I think that just wasn’t our identity and wasn’t who we are.”

The Heat won Game 2 thanks to a historic shooting effort, hitting a franchise playoff record 23 3-pointers at a 53.5 percent clip. For a team that ranked 19th in the NBA in 3-pointers made per game (12.5) during the regular season, Game 2 felt like an aberration, and Games 1 and 3 bore that out: Miami made just 21 3-pointers combined in those contests at a 32.3 percent clip.

Based on Love's comments and Bam Adebayo's comments after Game 3, we might see the Heat go back to chucking in Game 4.

"I feel like a lot of guys passed up open shots that they should’ve shot,” Adebayo said Saturday night. “That didn’t happen in Game 2; guys were letting it fly."

The Celtics have a considerable talent advantage in this series with Jimmy Butler and Terry Rozier sidelined for Miami, and it's hard to see the Heat winning another game without another excellent shooting performance. The C's should expect Erik Spoelstra's club to increase its intensity on both ends of the floor, but if Boston plays defense the way it did Saturday night by taking away the Heat's airspace on 3-point shots, the Celtics should feel confident about winning Game 4 and coming back to Boston with a 3-1 series lead.

Celtics-Heat Game 4 tips off at 7 p.m. ET on Monday with NBC Sports Boston's Mike Gorman and Brian Scalabrine on the call. Tune in at 6 p.m. ET for Celtics Pregame Live.

Contact Us