ASK IRA: Are the shorthanded Heat out of their league against the Celtics?

Q: Really, the Celtics’ task is very simple; Keep Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro in check. Who else is going to beat them? Shooting nights like Wednesday come along once every 10 years. — Ray, Deerfield Beach.

A: Yes, when two of the opposition’s leading scorers are out, it does become exponentially easier for the Celtics to concentrate the defensive focus. In fact, you can make an argument that the Heat are down even more than that. Not only is Jimmy Butler out with the MCL strain in his right knee that will have him out for the series, and not only is Terry Rozier out with the neck issue that has kept him from playing, but Duncan Robinson clearly is unable to be himself because of his back issue, limited to a scoreless 7:23 on Saturday night. It reached the point on Saturday night where even the absence became significant with Delon Wright, who was away for a personal family matter. Basically, with Kevin Love a bad defensive matchup in this series, the Heat bench essentially has become Haywood Highsmith or bust. It tends to take more than that against the Celtics. A lot more.

Related Articles

Q: When, during a dozen point first quarter, Heat players were dribbling the ball of their foot, couldn’t rebound a missed foul shot, were committing unforced turnovers, blown assignments, seemingly allowing the Celtics to score at will, and generally appeared to be panicked, the only question after 12 minutes was how much the home team would lose by. The question: Is there any real hope that Miami can recover from this catastrophe and be at least competitive beginning Monday? – Bill, Palm Beach Gardens.

A: Sure, if everything falls in place like it did in Game 2 of the series. The reality is that without Jimmy Butler and Terry Rozier, and with an ailing Duncan Robinson, who continues to deal with his back issue, this basically is a lottery roster trying to win in the playoffs. Lottery teams don’t tend to win many playoff games. The Heat at the moment against the Celtics look like the Bulls against the Heat in the play-in round, two completely different levels of teams.

Q: Can you explain why all the Heat starters were still in with four minutes, then three minutes to go on Saturday night? – Phil, Boca Raton.

A: Because when your season might only have two more games left, why not? And with Duncan Robinson and Kevin Love limited, and with the Heat going in with only 11 available players, outside of Thomas Bryant (who already was in the game) and Orlando Robinson, it’s not as if the Heat had many mop-up players. And remember, the Heat’s two-way players are not eligible for the playoffs, so it’s not as if Erik Spoelstra could have turned to Cole Swider, Alondes Williams or Jamal Cain.