The Celtics are just one of those teams with unlimited energy, and they will continue to fight until the very end. Despite technically having only an 8 man rotation, (11 if you count Semi Ojeleye, Enes Kanter, and Grant Williams, but they now get very minimal playing time) this team is extremely physical every play and are still able to go 100% despite serious fatigue. The one game the Heat lost, I was able to look a little closer and see what was actually going on, and what the Heat can do to prevent the Celtics from doing that and coming back in this series.
The Celtics could be considered a small team. Jayson Tatum playing at the PF position being only 6'8, and Daniel Theis playing at C being only 6'8 also. Despite the lack of height, the Celtics thrived in the paint for their game 3 win. Players like, yes, Bam Adebayo, and Kelly Olynyk need to be more intimidating in the paint and affect more shots. A big part of the Heat's game is three point shooting. The three point shooters such as Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson really struggle to keep up with players like Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart, and it didn't help that the Celtics were constantly setting picks for players to drive in to the paint. The Heat defense needs to be able to keep up with shifty players like Kemba, but also with downright horses like Robert Williams.
The Heat struggle to keep up with driving players to the basket, but that's not the only thing they struggle with. They also struggle with rebounding. Bam Adebayo can't be the only one on the floor for the Heat grabbing rebounds, others have to help, and it can't just be Jimmy Butler, Jae Crowder, and Tyler Herro. Ten players played in game 3, and out of the total 42 rebounds the Heat had, Jimmy Butler, Jae Crowder, and Bam Adebayo accounted for 30 of them. So that means that 30% of the players who were on the floor accounted for 71% of the Heat's total rebounds. I know they're smaller, but guys like Duncan Robinson and Goran Dragic have to get physical and go up for rebounds. Robinson and Dragic both only had one rebound. Like I said, the Celtics are a small team but they outrebounded the Heat by 8, which is just unacceptable. Offensive rebounds are rare, it's tough to get in position, and most teams don't even try anymore to get offensive rebounds. We all know Daniel Theis is not a speedy man, he's not a high jumper, but he's physical, and he wants the ball. That's why he got four offensive rebounds in game 3. He had 7 rebounds and 4 of them were offensive, that is very, very good. For example, Bam Adebayo had 16 rebounds, he only had four offensive boards, Jayson Tatum had 14 rebounds, and only one of them was an offensive board. I'm not going to keep going, but you get the idea, offensive rebounds are hard to come by, and the Heat let just Daniel Theis get 4. Also at 6'8, Jayson Tatum somehow grabbed 14 rebounds. I know they were defensive rebounds, but still, the Heat should be going after offensive rebounds, especially going up against an undersized team. The Heat have also struggled to keep Jaylen Brown off the glass, as he racked up 7 rebounds in game 3 and 9 rebounds in game 4. I know he can jump, but how do you prevent him from even being in the area to jump and get the rebound? Box out, and that is another thing that the Heat are struggling to do.
Like I said, the Celtics are very strong and physical, and they want this series. The Heat can hold them off, but they have to focus on the basic fundamentals before they can celebrate another series victory.