ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith called out Miami Heat forward Caleb Martin for his play in the NBA Finals.
.@stephenasmith wants to know: "Where the hell is Caleb Martin?" 👀
"Where the hell are you? … He has been a virtual no-show in these Finals." pic.twitter.com/yfpmammv3R
— First Take (@FirstTake) June 8, 2023
“There is an APB out for Caleb Martin,” Smith said. “Where the hell are you? We can’t find you. What’s going on here?”
Martin had a terrific Eastern Conference Finals, scoring in double figures in every single game against the Boston Celtics. He averaged 19.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game while shooting 60.2 percent from the field and 48.9 percent from beyond the arc in that series.
However, Martin has struggled in the NBA Finals against the Denver Nuggets, as he scored only three points in each of his first two games while making just two of his 10 shot attempts from the field.
He did play better in Game 3, scoring 10 points while adding three rebounds, three assists and two steals, but it’s still less than his production in the Eastern Conference Finals.
“I like Caleb a lot,” Smith said. “I’m rooting for him. But he has been a virtual no-show in these Finals. And considering the way that he performed so exceptionally well in the Eastern Conference Finals, it’s clearly a precipitous drop-off since Denver has arrived.”
While Smith clearly expects more from Martin, his play in the NBA Finals may be more indicative of what he has done all season.
During the regular season, Martin averaged 9.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game while shooting 46.4 percent from the field and 35.6 percent from beyond the arc. He smashed those numbers in the Eastern Conference Finals, but that was a small sample size of his extremely productive play.
The Heat certainly need Martin to play better than he has in the NBA Finals, but it’s hard to ask him to put up the same numbers that he did against Boston. The North Carolina native has also fallen out of the starting lineup in favor of Kevin Love, as the Heat appear to want some more size on the floor to help defend two-time league MVP Nikola Jokic.
Miami is now trailing the Nuggets 2-1 in the NBA Finals after losing Game 3 on Wednesday night. The loss gave home-court advantage back to Denver in the series.
Martin, who has shot 6-for-19 from the field against the Nuggets, will have a chance to bounce back in Game 4 on Friday, June 9 in Miami.