Expect more small-ball from the Celtics Quick Quintet tonight
Don't expect Brad Stevens to put his small-ball lineup out there for big minutes tonight. But we should see more of Gordon Hayward out there with starters Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. That quintet worked nicely at the end of quarters two and four in Boston's 117-106 Game Three victory over the Miami Heat on Saturday (per NBA's John Schuhmann):.
The small lineup is obviously more skilled than one with Theis, Enes Kanter or Grant Williams at center. It's also quicker. And you can certainly credit the added quickness for what happened in the first 63 seconds after the Celtics went small: Three stops and three fast breaks, pushing that four-point lead to a 10-point cushion.
Celtics fans only got to see that lineup for roughly six minutes in Game 3, starting at the 2:39 mark of the first half and also with 3:27 left in the game. The five-some expanded the lead from three points to 13 points to end the half, and they held on at the end of the game to achieve the final score.
The return of Hayward from injury has allowed Stevens to have this weapon in his arsenal. This 5-man crew is not exactly minuscule by NBA standards. These guys measure 6-0, 6-3, 6-6, 6-7 and 6-8, and remember that these measurements are now without shoes.
With Smart's progression in his offensive game, all five of these Guys in Green are capable of a 20-point game, and the combined ball-handling, passing and quickness will certainly test the tight-and-active Miami defense. Expect to see more than six minutes of the Quick Quintet tonight in Game 4.