Ime Udoka Sounds Off on Celtics Mistakes

Ime Udoka, Boston Celtics

Getty Ime Udoka, Boston Celtics

After snatching the momentum in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics sit one victory away from progressing into the final round of the post-season and challenging for a championship.

However, winning against the Miami Heat is never easy; they’re a team that plays with enormous heart and put their bodies on the line for every possession with their high level of physicality. Yet, despite the Heat’s willingness to go out on their sword, the Celtics found a way to overcome a difficult road game, although it wasn’t smoothing sailing.

During the May 25 contest, the Celtics gave up 19 offensive rebounds, which led to 24 second-chance points; Boston also finished the game with 15 total turnovers, which Miami converted into a further 17 points. That means the Celtics were responsible for 41 of the Heat’s 80, and that didn’t seem to sit right with Ime Udoka.

Ime Udoka to Jaylen Brown: We CAN'T Keep Turning the Ball Over | Celtics vs Heat Game 5MIAMI, FL — Ime Udoka was interviewed following Boston's 93-80 road win over the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics will now head back to Boston with one more win keeping them from their first NBA Finals berth since 2010. Ime Udoka said the advice he gave to Jaylen…2022-05-26T04:04:33Z

“We weren’t playing our best in the first half, in a lot of ways. Sometimes that’s all it takes. Too many turnovers, offensive rebounds, second-chance points – thing’s that we’ve emphasized. With that being said, they had 47 points at the half. We felt we were in good shape if we just cleaned up the turnovers, limit them…small things like that helped get some of our guys going offensively,” Udoka said when asked about Boston’s continued struggles with taking care of the ball.

Jaylen Brown Recently Addressed his Turnovers

There’s no doubt that game three of this series was Boston’s worst performance, most notably due to their consistent mistakes and inability to take care of the ball. During that May 21 game, Jaylen Brown gave away possession seven times as he tried to force the issue and take on too much of a playmaking role.

Brown has struggled with his handle throughout his career. The Georgia native is fine when handling the rock at speed, but once an opposing defense shows a crowd, the ball becomes loose and is often stripped away from him.

Speaking after his poor showing in game three, Brown opened up about his struggles taking care of the ball, admitting that he needs to improve that area of his game as soon as possible.

VideoVideo related to ime udoka sounds off on celtics mistakes2022-05-26T07:40:40-04:00

“Just be stronger. I did a s*** job today, taking care of the basketball. Just being stronger, driving, I’m going to keep being aggressive, I’m going to keep getting to the basket, keep doing what I do, but being stronger when I get in there…I don’t make excuses; we’ll get better. I did a s*** job taking care of the basketball today. I’ve gotta do better,” Brown told the media following Boston’s second loss of the series. 

In the two games that have followed, Brown has upped his game, averaging 18.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and just 2.5 turnovers per game while shooting 38.5% from the field and 40% from deep. If the Celtics are going to have a chance at lifting the NBA championship in the coming weeks, they’re going to need the best version of Jaylen Brown, and that all begins with him continuing to take care of the ball on offense.

Heading Back to Boston

By securing the win in game five, the Celtics now own the momentum as they head back to the TD Garden for a potential close-out game in front of their home crowd. Ideally, Boston will need to take care of business on May 27 to avoid a potential do-or-die game seven back in Miami.

Judging by what we’ve seen from this Celtics team over the last two games, they’re more than equipped to see this series through in six games, which would also afford them six days rest before the start of the NBA finals – allowing their players to recover after two back-to-back physical series of playoff basketball.

Winning three straight games against the first-seeded Heat would also send a strong message to their Western Conference opponents, letting them know they’re the real deal and are capable of going the distance. Assuming Boston enters game six with a fairly clean bill of health, there’s every chance they close out this series and give Tatum and Brown a shot at their first championship together.

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