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#pounditSaturday, April 13, 2024

Stan Van Gundy had perfect warning for Heat at end of Game 6

Stan Van Gundy on the sideline

Jan 30, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy during the second half of the Boston Celtics 113-109 win over the Detroit Pistons at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat lost Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday night in part because they failed to box out, and Stan Van Gundy saw the defensive breakdown coming.

The Boston Celtics were trailing Miami 103-102 and had an inbound play with 3 seconds left. Derrick White got the ball to Marcus Smart, who put up a three-pointer and missed. But the Celtics still had enough time for a game-winning tip-in from White, who crashed the glass unmarked.

Van Gundy, who works as an analyst for TNT, recognized that White could become a problem for the Heat. He noted before the inbound pass that Max Strus had his back turned to White.

“The Heat are having Max Strus face the floor here, but he’s got to be aware of Derrick White on the quick pass back,” Van Gundy said.

Van Gundy was specifically saying that the Heat had to be careful to not leave White open for a three-point attempt. White did initially look for a pass from Smart, but he made a heads-up play by crashing the boards as soon as Smart put the shot up. Strus had come out to guard Tatum and lost track of White, which is exactly what Van Gundy predicted might happen.

That was a great call from Van Gundy, who is known for being a great defensive coach. The Heat probably were more worried about contesting the shot, but they should have recognized that there was enough time for a shot attempt and a rebound.

Had someone boxed White out, Miami would have punched their ticket to the NBA Finals. Instead, White’s father got to be the proudest dad in America and the Celtics will host the Heat in Game 7 on Monday night.

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