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Adjustments for Game Three

A lot of dumb people have Brad Stevens on the hot seat, that is ludicrous, however he does need to help this team by making some adjustments going forward in this series. It is hard to blame Brad for not making them already in this series, because as the higher seed (especially in a 1 vs 8 matchup), you usually don't want to overreact to one game. Rather, you want to give your guys continuity and just let them go out there and play and show why they were the better team. Radical changes can cause your team to spook and think you are doubting them. That's not what you want. Brad had an especially hard task in making adjustments from game one to game two, given the physche of the team following Isaiah Thomas' tragic situation. That all changes when you are down two and play the next to away from home. It's time to make adjustments and try to turn this series around.


So what could Brad do?


1st Start Jonas Jerebko over Amir Johnson:

Why: The first two games in this series the Bulls have been attacking the Celtics offense with aggressive defense and causing turnovers, along with making the Celtics look generally uncomfortable with the ball. Part of the reason they have been able to do this is because they have been able to help off of Amir Johnson. Subbing Jerebko for Amir would give the Celtics more spacing by adding another shooter on the floor. It would also cause Robin Lopez to guard Al Horford or Jerebko, and draw him away from the rim, diminishing his help defense, rim protection, and rebounding. Jerebko would also help running pick and rolls, the Bulls couldn't collapse on Isaiah like they have been without regard to having to worry about Amir on offense. This would open up space for Isaiah to drive, as well as give Bradley and Crowder more space to work with. Defensively, one of the problems the tandem of Amir and Horford has had with Mirotic is showing out to the threepoint line to contest his shot and then recovering to rebound. Jerebko's athleticism, size, and hustling would make him much better suited for this job. Conversely, allowing Amir to come off the bench as a defensive anchor and play less minutes, might be to his advantage as well. Only having to matchup with a traditional center would allow Amir to find a better groove both offensively and defensively in this series. 

2nd Sag off Rondo:

The Celtics have to stop Rondo from getting into the lane. He has been an adequate finisher in the lane this series, but more so, he is getting Bulls bigs easy buckets and then getting rebounds or easy open jumpers off kickouts. Make him a jumpshooter. I would put a big on him and just have him clog the lane, when Isaiah is out of the game. You can't do this when Isaiah is in there because he doesn't have anyone else to guard really. Isaiah needs to sag off Rondo and keep him out of the lane though. No more using his quickness to get around him.


3rd Utilize Marcus Smart as a primary ballhandler:

The Bulls are daring Smart to beat him from the three point line. They are sagging off him and using his man to help other spots. The Celtics can mitigate this by using Smart as a primary ballhandler, even when Thomas is in the game. Post him up. Run him in pick and rolls. Make his man guard him to free up other guys. He is a good passer and ballhandler. It might even free up the Celtics to run IT off of screens and get him some easier looks at the basket.


4th Run a zone defense

The Bulls are scaring any body with their outside shooting. Make Rondo, Wade, and Butler beat you from three. Pack the paint and play the percentages. Stress team rebounding and don't let guys get out of position running pick and rolls. I'll live with the Bulls shooting as long as they don't get offensive rebounds off of it.


5th put Marcus Smart on Robin Lopez for short stretches:

Smart might be the only guy on the team willing to get down and put his ass on Lopez. The worst case scenario is the Bulls get some easy buckets off the matchup. I believe its far more likely though that they try to exploit it too much and it ends up getting them out of their rhythm by attacking in a way that isn't normal to them. Plus, if there is anyone that is going to draw off the ball fouls on Lopez, it is going to be Smart.


What other adjustments do you think the Celtics could make to help get them back in this series?





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