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Celtics can’t defend or score against Heat in the paint

Hello World!

Not a good sign when you shoot just 46% from point blank range in the playoffs.  And unfortunately for the Boston Celtics that is exactly what happened in Monday night’s Game 1 79-93 Eastern Conference Finals loss to the Miami Heat.

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Even worse the C’s gave up 77.8% shooting to the Heat on Monday on an incredibly efficient 17 of 27 shots from inside the painted area.

Very difficult to stop James and Wade when they put their collective heads down and decide to attack the rim as we’ve seen throughout the regular season and especially in these 2012 NBA Playoffs, but even more trying if you are a Celtics’ squad whose lone rim-protector is a 36-year old power forward currently playing out of position.

Kevin Garnett, to his credit, was nice in the Celtics Game 1 loss posting a respectable line of 23 points and 10 rebounds, however when it comes to establishing a defensive presence at the rim on a consistent basis asking him to cover that side of the ball as well as lead his team in scoring may be a little much to ask at this late stage in his Hall-of-Fame worthy career.

So with that said if you’re Boston what are you left with?

You’re left with undersized power forward Brandon Bass and seldom-used rookie Greg Stiemsma as your only other options.  Ryan Hollins is a capable shot-blocker, but an offensive liability and physically not strong enough to truly provide the beef inside the Celtics need against the athletic two-car train that is coming at them in the form of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and the Miami Heat in this series.

To make matters worse Boston is dealing with a hobbled, unsure Ray Allen out on the perimeter who, if he’s not hitting shots (1-of-7 from the field Monday), may arguably be a liability for the team moving forward.

The Avery Bradley Effect

Boston is also suffering through a little known affliction called the “Avery Bradley Effect”.

That’s what happens when your best perimeter defender is not available due to injury leaving guys like Wade to frequent the paint with little to no resistance.

With no Bradley the Heat are now able to completely load up on Rondo who has enough responsibilities from rebounding to distributing to scoring for this very thin Celtics lineup.

All this leads to Miami shooting 77.8% from within the painted area and a whopping 85% on an amazing 17-of-20 shots from the restricted area; right at the rim.

On the other hand, the Celtics, who shot just 45.9% from inside the painted area, missed a myriad of close-in shots primarily due to lack of athleticism in the backcourt and frontcourt coupled with Miami’s heady handsy defense at the rim.

The Heat, led by LeBron’s 3 blocks Monday night, swatted away 11 Celtics’ attempts at the rim.  Many of those blocks coming when it appeared as though Boston had an advantage with their guy beat in transition.

The Celtics only hope in this series is if they somehow are able to dictate Miami’s offense towards the perimeter and force passes out to the corner where on Monday the Heat shot just 9% on 1-of-11 three-point tries.

But without the speed and quickness to hinder Wade and James impressive forays to the basket and no one there at the rim to protect, that task looks to be an understated tall order at this point.

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