Celtics doing everything Ty Lue wants Cavaliers to do

Boston 'taking good shots' and 'taking care of the ball' through two games

Alex Hooper
May 19, 2018 - 7:48 pm
May 15, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) drives against Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyle Korver (26) during the third quarter in game two of the Eastern conference finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at TD Garden.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – With all of the talk of Boston Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens and where he fits on the NBA coaching hierarchy, it would appear Cleveland Cavaliers coach Ty Lue believes highly in his opposite number.

Stevens’ team is doing everything Lue wants his to do.

While neither Eastern Conference Finals team has been ‘playing with pace,’ Lue’s go-to line in press conferences, his other words before Game 3 sounded an awful lot like the Celtics’ game plan.

The head coach facing an 0-2 deficit was asked how his team can ‘play the right way’ to avoid an 0-3 hole. He cited not taking bad shots and taking care of the ball offensively, and bringing physicality defensively.

As far as good shots are concerned, the Celtics have taken 14 more shots at the rim than the Cavaliers through two games, shooting 64%. Boston has also avoided the long mid-range shot, the least efficient in basketball, more often than their opponents.

The notable difference between the two teams has been Lue’s second point, taking care of the basketball. In their two wins, the Celtics have turned the ball over just 14 times in 170 possessions, while the Cavaliers have given the ball away 24 times in 169.

The wine and gold turned the ball over 15 times in Game 2, which justifiably irked Lue.

“I think going into the half, we were up 11 with 30 seconds, they got a loose ball and scored, then we turned the ball over, and they ended up cutting it to seven before the halftime. Just taking care of the basketball and getting quality shots.”

Part of the reason that the Cavaliers have struggled to retain the ball is Celtics guard Marcus Smart, who has forced three turnovers through two games. Players guarded by Smart have shot 8-of-21 (38%) against him.

Caused more strife for the Cavs than meets the box score, mixing things up with JR Smith in Game 2 and playing a part in Cleveland losing their composure.

It has always been what makes Smart notable.

“Marcus Smart plays like that in September in Training Camp,” Stevens said. “It’s what he does. I think that’s one of the things about him that, we get a chance to see it every day. It’s one of the reasons why we don’t do a lot of scrimmaging later in the year, because Marcus plays like that no matter what in practice. That’s how he’s wired, and we’re really lucky to have him on our team.”