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"Poise-under-fire" sorely lacking in Celtics arsenal

 The current version of the Boston Celtics has few weaknesses, but they certainly seem to have trouble winning close games. 

"Clutch Time" is defined as minutes when the scoring margin is within five (5) points with 5-or-fewer minutes remaining in a game.

Thus far, The Green have not done well in Clutch Time (CT) during this year's playoffs. As a team, Boston ranks ninth (9th) recordwise with a winning percentage of 44.4% (4-5 record in games involving "Clutch Time"). Not surprising is that the Celtics current opponent, the Miami Heat, hold top place with a 71.4% winning percentage (5-2).

Jayson Tatum's four turnovers in Boston's loss in Game-1 of the East Finals may have some fans pointing fingers at the youngster, but he has only turned the ball over only 0.1 times per game during those five critical minutes in the post-season, while also hitting 61.5% of his field goals and 62.5% of his 3-point attempts.

In Crunch Time, Marcus Smart turns the ball over the most at an average of 0.5 turnovers per game in CT. But Smart also hits a high percentage (66.7%) of his field goals in CT And he attempts almost as many shots (1.5 per game) as Tatum - who attempts 1.4 shots per game in the last five minutes of close games.

What's this all mean? In comparing Clutch Time numbers, both teams are quite close in most categories. But Miami has nine (9) total steals over the 7 post-season games, while Boston has only two steals over 9 games. Who can opponents blame? As always, "The Butler" did it. He had six (6) thefts in one game alone, that being Game-1 versus the Celtics. 

So Marcus needs to keep control of the ball, and frankly, needs to keep firing away (when did you think you would read that?) in Crunch Time. He has put as many points on the board during critical times (2.9 PPG) as Tatum. And Jayson needs to do likewise. Not so Jaylen Brown His shooting percentage in Clutch Time is only 20%. 

The Green are still fairly young amd admittedly, get the shakes with a game on the line. Poise comes with experience and seasoning, but if the Celtics want Banner 18 this season, they had better acquire some "poise-under-fire" fairly soon.


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