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The Miami Heat had a chance to close out the Eastern Conference finals on Friday night, but blew a 12-point lead in Game 5 and collapsed entirely in the second half where they were outscored 70-50 by the Boston Celtics.

While the Heat didn't get the job done in Game 5, the good news is they got out to such a strong start in the series that they're still up 3-2, and have two more chances to advance to the Finals for the first time since 2014. The bad news, is that their 3-point shooting has completely abandoned them. 

The Heat turned in their worst 3-point performance (minimum 30 attempts) in franchise playoff history in Game 5, going 7 of 36 from downtown to continue a worrying trend. Over the past four games, during which the Heat are 2-2 -- more losses than they had in the entire playoffs to this point -- they've fired up 160 3-pointers, and made just 43, which comes out to 26.9 percent. In Game 5 they shot a miserable 18 percent. As a result, they're now the worst 3-point shooting team out of the four conference finalists at 30.1 percent for the round. 

Obviously that's a poor mark, but it's so surprising because of Miami's track record. It has finished second in the league in 3-point shooting in the regular season at 37.9 percent, and prior to this recent skid, it was third among all playoff teams at 38.6 percent. Let's take a closer look at what's happened.

Two big names

This is a team issue, and everyone on the Heat is shooting worse during this current stretch than they did earlier in the playoffs. That being said, two names really stick out here: Jae Crowder and Goran Dragic. Those two account for over a third of the Heat's 3-point attempts, and are shooting 18.2 percent and 28.6 percent, respectively, over the last four games. 

Here's just how steep the drop-off has been for those two:

Jae CrowderFG3FG3AFG3%

First 10 playoff games




Last four games








Crowder is almost strictly a catch-and-shoot guy, and as such has been getting a number of clean looks. He just hasn't been able to make them. Here's a sample of some of the wide open shots he's missed recently: 

NBA players should make those shots more often than not, but while Crowder's shooting slump is extreme, it's not like he's some sort of elite sharpshooter. In fact, his form early in the playoffs, and with the Heat in general, has been an outlier as well. For his career, he's a 34 percent 3-point shooter, but made 44.5 percent of his attempts with Miami in the regular season after being traded there, and was at 41.7 percent in the playoffs prior to the last four games. 

A regression was always coming at some point, and Crowder and the Heat will have to hope he can stabilize things soon. 

Goran DragicFG3FG3AFG3%

First 10 playoff games




Last four games








Dragic's shooting hasn't fallen off quite as severely as Crowder's, but it has been worse than any of the Heat's other high-volume guys. While he doesn't rely on catch-and-shoot attempts in the same way as his teammate, Dragic has also missed his fair share of easy opportunities: 

At the same time, the Celtics' increased pressure in the last few games in particular, has made life difficult for Dragic, and forced him into some tough looks. A career 36.3 percent shooter from deep, it's clear the Slovenian is a better shooter than he's shown from Games 2-5. The question for him and the Heat is can he prove that over the next two games?

Quality of shots

As the video clips of Crowder and Dragic show, the Heat's problem during this stretch hasn't been an inability to get open. In fact, their number of "open" and "wide open" 3-point attempts has actually increased slightly in the last four games, according to the league's tracking data. 

HeatOpen FG3Open FG3AOpen FG3%Wide open FG3Wide open FG3AWide open FG3%

First 10 playoff games







Last four games














It's a make-or-miss league, as the saying goes, and unfortunately for the Heat, they've been missing lately. On some level, it is as simple as just making more shots. After all, they're getting enough clear chances. But, of course, it's not the full story. 

Under Brad Stevens, the Celtics have consistently been one of the best teams in the league at limiting their opponents' 3-point shooting, and that's continued in these playoffs, where teams are shooting 30.4 percent from deep against Boston. They have long, versatile defenders on the perimeter, and make teams work hard. 

So even though data says the Heat are getting the same amount of "open" and "wide open" shots, Miami coach Erik Spoelstra says the Celtics have done a good job disrupting their offense and making those attempts more difficult. 

"They're very good at defending the 3-point line," Spoelstra said. They've taken us off of some of our normal rhythm 3s."

Don't let it affect the defensive end

The Heat's two worst defensive games of this postseason have both come against the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals. Unsurprisingly, they've both been losses. What's more interesting is that those games also coincide with two of the Heat's worst 3-point-shooting games of the playoffs. In Game 3, they shot 27.3 percent from 3-point land, and had a defensive rating of 117. Then in Game 5 on Friday night, they put up a 19.4 percent mark from deep, and a defensive rating of 118.6. 

You're going to have tough nights on the defensive end, as well as times where you can't buy a basket. What can't happen, though, is that the latter leads to the former. And both Spoelstra and Dragic believe that was the case in Game 5

"Regardless of whether it's going in or not, that can't affect your commitment on the other side of the floor." Spoelstra said. "And it felt like it did."

"I think we're getting good looks. We just didn't make the shots," Dragic said. "But that shouldn't affect our defense. Every time we miss a shot we need to get back and try to load inside the paint and make it tough on them."

Locking in on the defensive end no matter what's happening with their 3-point shooting will be a big key for the Heat the rest of the way in this series. They've shown at various points along the way that when they're committed on that side of the ball, they can make life miserable for the Celtics.