If it seems like the Miami Heat are constantly digging themselves out of holes, just know that the numbers support the idea that they are a second-half team. Despite reaching the Eastern Conference finals and taking a 2-1 lead over the Boston Celtics once there, they have the third-worst first-quarter point-differential of all 16 playoff teams at minus-25. Against the Celtics, specifically, they've been outscored by six points in the second quarter as well.
The Heat have been dominant after halftime, but they usually need to be given their first-half struggles. It is a weakness that the Heat themselves acknowledge that they need to overcome.
"I think it gets old, playing from behind consistently," Jimmy Butler said, according to ESPN's Nick Friedell. "Especially against a great team like Boston and what they bring to the table." The problem, in Butler's mind, comes down to effort.
"We didn't play hard enough," Butler said. "I think we didn't do anything that we said that we were going to do. We knew how they were going to attack us. We weren't helping each other. We weren't making an extra pass a lot of the times. We have to play basketball the way we have been playing the games that we have been winning. We understand that. There's nothing that Coach can say. There's nothing that OG [Udonis Haslem] can say. We get it. We have to be the ones to fix that."
Ironically, the Celtics were clearly a second-half team during the regular season. They had the NBA's best third-quarter point-differential by far at plus-226, with the Milwaukee Bucks coming in second at plus-171. They've managed to flip the switch on their own first-half woes, now it's up to the Heat to do the same.