The Heat must neutralize Boston's rim protectors. Three-pointers will do that.
The Miami Heat are tied 2-2 with the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, but are coming off a blowout at the Garden in Game 4. The game was essentially over after the first quarter, as the Heat missed their first 14 shots and trailed 28-11 after 12 minutes of play. It was a brutal effort, especially from the starting five.
But there's one big positive that game out of the Game 4 debacle, one that Erik Spoelstra will hopefully be able to capitalize on.
A Duncan Robinson Revival?
Duncan Robinson is the Heat's deadliest weapon from three-point land when he's feeling it. The man can pull up from the parking lot with a hand in his face and connect. But he's been a complete ghost so far in the 2022 playoffs.
Robinson averaged just 11.5 MPG in the 11 playoff games he appeared in before Game 4. He didn't make it off the bench at all in the Heat's four other games. After pouring in 27 points on 9/10 from the field and 8/9 from downtown in Game 1 of the first round series against the Hawks, he didn't scored more than six points in any playoff game. He made three total three-pointers in that span. He's essentially been nixed from Spo's rotation.
But thennn he came back to life against the Celtics Monday night. .
While these are garbage time stats, the Celtics defense does not take breaks. Robinson was still getting plenty of attention as he was rising up for three. He played 23 minutes in Game 4, scoring 14 points and going 4-for-8 from deep. They mentioned this on the ESPN broadcast during the game, and I agree; it's never good for an opposing team when a shooter of Robinson's caliber starts seeing the ball go in again.
A rejuvenated Duncan Robinson could be a major X-factor for the Heat tonight. He's a man who can take over a game.
Neutralizing the Time Lord
The Heat don't have the personnel to deal with a healthy Robert Williams III in the paint. He's a fucking leviathan. HOWEVER, if guys like Duncan Robinson, Gabe Vincent, Caleb Martin, and Victor Oladipo are raining down three-pointers, it might force the lumbering Williams out of the game. Those four went 12-for-25 from behind the arc in Game 4. That kind of sharpshooting could be monumental if the Heat get it going early. If Tyler Herro is able to suit up, that adds yet another weapon for Spo to work with.
Al Horford and Robert Williams defending the basket simultaneously is horrible for Miami's two best players, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, who thrive in the paint. There weren't many positives to come out of Game 4's 102-82 drubbing, but maybe, just maybe, it ignited the Heat's deep threat.
Game 5 tip-off is tonight at 8:30 PM ET