During this post season, turnover has rarely been an issue for the Miami Heat, including in their two road games against the Boston Celtics during these Eastern Conference Finals.
And yet, in a strange way, limiting myself to nine in each of those games is somewhat of an issue at TD Garden.
Because, as coach Erik Spoelstra explained, playing too carefully can be a dangerous game against a defense as the Celtics.
“You’re always hitting this fine line,” said Spoelstra, as the Heat return to court at the FTX Arena for Wednesday night’s Game 5. “You don’t want to play passive. We have to be able to take offensive chances with our attack. Otherwise you’re only going to face one-five and get caught at the end of the clock. That doesn’t work either.
“So you have to be aggressive. We have to reach our strength. But we want people to be aggressive, but also to be decision-makers.”
Nine turnovers in both Games 3 and 4 in Boston marked just the second and third time this post season, with the Heat keeping the total in single digits, the other seven in their Game 4 win over the Atlanta Hawks.
The Heat finished the regular season at 14.9, the third-worst place in the NBA in turnover per game. And yet one of two poorly ranked teams, the Golden State Warriors, at 14.9, are set to advance to the NBA Finals.
Because sometimes you have to take risk.
“You don’t want to play protective, preventive basketball,” Spoelstra said. “Against a great defense, if you’re just going to be passive and try not to make a mistake, it won’t put enough points on the board. So you have to take some chances.
“You have to persevere. You have to be aggressive. But then you have to read the flow of the game.”
When the Heat failed to land a player on one of three All-NBA teams, they became only the sixth No. 1 seed since the playoff expansion in 1983–84 that had not been selected.
The other five such teams had uneven playoff success.
Lost in the 2014–15 Hawks Eastern Conference Finals; 2011–12 Chicago Bulls lost in the first round; 1999–00 Indiana Pacers lost in the NBA Finals; The 1993–94 Hawks lost in the former semifinals; and the 1988–89 Detroit Pistons won the NBA Championship.
Media voting was completed before the playoffs.
Jimmy Butler made the third team All-NBA in his last two seasons with the Heat. Prior to Butler’s 2020 selection, the Heat had gone without an All-NBA selection since LeBron James in 2014.
The Heat’s lone award selections for the 2020–21 regular season were Bam Adebayo on the second team All-Defensive and Tyler Herro as the winner of the sixth Man of the Year. Spoelstra was a finalist for Coach of the Year, placing third behind Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns and Taylor Jenkins of the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Heat are in contention for the newly created Eastern Conference MVP trophy as well as the MVP trophy in the NBA Finals, should they move on.
The Heat is hosting a road rally at the FTX Arena for Friday’s Game 6 in Boston.
The doors of the 8:30 p.m. game at TD Garden will open at 7:30 p.m., with the national broadcast being shown on in-arena screens.
The game will not be broadcast on external media-mesh screens affixed to the arena along Biscayne Boulevard.
The event will feature heat dancers, mascot Bernie, hoop troupe, public-address announcer Michael Biamonte, and the team’s in-arena host.
Tickets are $5, with general admission seating, available for purchase at Heat.com and Ticketmaster.com. There is a maximum of eight tickets per person. Tickets will not be available at Arena Box Office.
Parking will be available at the arena’s P2 parking garage for $5.