Boston's Offense Must Operate with Patience Tonight
BOSTON – Patience is known to be a virtue, and the Celtics need to remember that notion tonight when they pursue a 3-2 series lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Boston just dropped two straight games in Cleveland while shooting just 40.3 percent from the field. However, it knows that its offense can create high-percentage shots if it takes its time in finding them.
“Offensively, we generated some good looks when we really worked to generate good looks,” Brad Stevens said before Wednesday morning’s shootaround.
The important words in that statement are when we really worked. The Celtics can’t settle tonight. They must to put in effort to earn quality looks at the basket.
They are the first to admit that they didn’t do so while playing the last two games in Cleveland.
“It’s tough going on the road, because of obviously the environment and they’re pumped to play, and you’re just trying to match their energy,” said rookie Jayson Tatum, “and sometimes you channel that energy into taking bad shots and playing too fast.”
That’s exactly what happened during Games 3 and 4. The Celtics attempted more than a third of their shots – 34.5 percent, to be exact – during the first nine seconds of the shot clock during the last two games. Cleveland sped them up.
Not only was Boston rushed, but it also was wooed into making poor decisions on shot selection. The team’s percentage of pull-up jumpers increased from 26.9 percent in Boston to 29.1 percent in Cleveland, and its shots against what qualifies as “tight” defense increased from 32.1 percent in Boston to 39.2 percent in Cleveland.
The key to decreasing those numbers tonight? Patience.
The Celtics have seen what they can get against Cleveland’s defense when they put in effort on offense and wait for the best shot available. When Boston moves the ball, with five offensive threats on the court moving in all different directions, it creates quality looks at the basket. Such has been the case throughout this impressive postseason run.
Patience was, for the most part, missing in action in Cleveland inside of a hostile environment. The hope is that it will return tonight inside of a friendly environment that puts Boston’s team at ease.
“We’re comfortable at home,” said Marcus Smart, and as such, patience will be much easier to come by tonight.