Spoelstra, HEAT Rip Defensive Effort
Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra isn’t one to raise his voice when talking to the media, but he isn’t afraid to publicly put his team on blast, even if the words are delivered as calmly and robotically as an automated GPS device dispenses directions.
“Defensively we were as poor as we’ve been all playoffs,” Spoelstra said of the Heat’s performance during a 101-91 Game 3 loss to the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on Friday night. “They were able to get probably the easiest buckets they’ve been able to get all playoffs. Particularly in the paint, at the rim. They had playoff highs in lay-up attempts and points in the paint. We have to be much tougher in those areas.”
The Celtics put up an eye-popping 58 points in the paint on 29-for-44 shooting, nearly as many as they managed in Games 1 and 2 combined (64). Forward Kevin Garnett led the charge, scoring 24 points on 10-for-16 shooting, playing above the Heat defenders and frustrating LeBron James to the point that he slammed the basketball into the court out of frustration after allowing a fourth-quarter dunk.
“Their penetration and concerted efforts to get Garnett in the paint were damaging for us,” Heat forward Shane Battier said. “[Garnett's] length is a little different. He’s agile. A guy like [Indiana Pacers center Roy] Hibbert — he was so big but he was a lot slower than KG. KG is pretty agile, and his length makes him a different challenge.”