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On this episode of First to the Floor, Ben, Jake and I break down Miami’s odd game and disappointing loss to the upstart Orlando Magic. Both the Heat and Celtics were depleted by so many obscure players, one of whom played college at West Virginia, not WVU. Perhaps the most compelling non-Jayson Tatum/last possession storyline was the battle of the young centers. In one corner you have a man with an onomatopoeic name and in the other a literal time lord. I know who I like in that fight, and it’s not the guy whose name is a soundbite.

The most recent matchup between these two came in the playoffs, and well, Rob had quite the impact on Bam’s numbers.

In the two games Rob was unable to play a full minute load, Bam was an All-Star. In the games, Rob made it, he was Bam-al Magloire (technically making an all-star team). The difficulty of defending Bam is similar to the problem Tatum presents for wings. You put a bigger guy on him, he’s going to be very fast. You put a smaller guy on him, he’s going to be too big. Well, Rob is big and very fast. He’s also a much more dynamic vertical athlete, which allows him to compete with the bami bothersome athletes he does so much.

Well last night Bam finally beat Rob. According to NBA.com, Rob defended Bam for 7 minutes and 14 seconds. During that time, Bam was 4-7 from the floor and 4-of-4 from the line, good for 12 of his 30 points. From the eye test, I’d bet 2 or 3 of the field goals were crucial in the 4th quarter as the game slipped away from the C’s.

Mazzulla had a clear game against Adebayo. stay at home and make him create in isolation. Bam, and Miami in general, is most dangerous when he’s able to pick off snipers and open shooters when teams double him. By staying home, you limit those easy baskets and force Bam to create rebounds. When Rob is on top, he can’t quite get himself to the rim and has to settle for mid-range jumps or awkward floaters. It’s been a historically successful tactic against him, and I think it will be in the future, but it wasn’t last night. Bam was 6-11 from 5-14 feet, many of which are at critical junctures.

With that being said, I’d be hesitant to take too much out of this game, for any team. The Celtics missing a playoff-caliber starting lineup and the Heat missing what is effectively the only reason they can make the playoffs doesn’t provide much useful data. What last night showed us is that Bam could tackle Rob Williams in one game, but I’ll bet he couldn’t do it four times out of seven.

I hope you enjoy this episode despite the two disappointing losses. It certainly made me feel better about recording it, so hopefully it’s a little exciting to listen to. Please subscribe to the CelticsBlog podcast stream and the First to the Floor YouTube (where we just hit 1k subs, thank you all!!!!). As always, thanks for listening!



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