Celtics coach Ime Udoka shares what he said to Jaylen Brown in Game 5 to tighten up turnovers

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In the first half of the Boston Celtics’ pivotal win over the Miami Heat in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference finals series on Wednesday night, the Celtics — and star forward Jaylen Brown in particular — were falling into the hands of the Heat by turning the ball over at a very high rate.

This is, as Celtics fans have by now learned, exactly what Miami wants and an integral part of how they generate offense. While a mostly preventable problem against most teams, the Heat’s active hands, length, and strength make adjusting to take care of the ball better a tough but achievable proposition.

After that forgettable first half, Celtics head coach Ime Udoka took Brown aside and spoke to him, with Brown improving considerably on ball control thereafter.

Asked what he’d said to the Georgia native after the game, Udoka replied “Just the same thing — the crowd is there, you’re acting surprised that they’re reaching and poking from behind.”

“It wasn’t as much as us trying to make a nice pass, it was literally being taken from us, and so (we needed to) be strong with the ball. It’s five games in now, we’re having way too many of these types of turnovers, not being strong with the ball in a crowd — he understood that … I think we talked about at halftime them having 47 points and that’s giving up 34 of those with extra second-chance points and turnovers.”

“So, if we cleaned that up, we’d be in good shape. And obviously, he and the rest of the group did a great job,” explained Udoka.

With Boston winning the game 93-80 and Brown not turning the ball over again in the game, the Celtics coach’s counsel seemed to strike the right tone.

And while the injuries sustained by the Heat have no doubt played a major role in this series, understanding Miami’s overarching approach to defense and executing offensively in a way that limits its effectiveness has been the key to this series so far.

Now, the Celtics can close out the East finals and advance — so long as they take good care of the ball.

This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook!

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