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Breaking down Celtics’ last-second shots reveals one clear issue

Breaking down Celtics’ last-second shots reveals one clear issue originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Celtics have got the first 47 and three-quarters minutes pretty much figured out on a nightly basis. Now they just need to address the final 15 seconds.

Even the NBA’s greatest juggernauts must eventually win close games in the playoffs, and how a team handles those situations can be the difference between raising a banner and hanging your head. Just ask the 73-win Warriors of LeBron James chase-down fame.

The Celtics can run anyone off the floor, as they demonstrated in breathtaking fashion during Sunday’s 52-point blowout of Golden State. But their late-game execution still sputters too often, which was once again the case in Tuesday’s aberrational loss to the Cavaliers.

The game will primarily be remembered for the Celtics blowing a 22-point lead in the final nine minutes and briefly turning the anonymous Dean Wade into Hall of Famer D-Wade during his 20-point fourth quarter outburst.

For all of their defensive lapses and wayward shooting, the Celtics still had a chance to win with 19 seconds left and the ball in Jayson Tatum’s hands. But as has been the case too many times this year, their final shot was a low-percentage one.

They were nearly bailed out with a foul call, but Darius Garland’s contact with Tatum’s leg was overturned, wiping away Kristaps Porzingis’s game-winning putback in the process. (Colleague Chris Forsberg breaks down that play in all of its 19-dribble misery and some of the larger issues it portends here).

If it feels like the Celtics never get a good shot in the final seconds of regulation or overtime to tie or take the lead, it’s because that’s pretty much true. They’re just 1-for-12 in such situations, and their lone make never even found the bottom of the basket, Detroit’s Cade Cunningham called for an oh-so-close goaltend on a Tatum finger roll in December.

At least that was a layup. More typical are shots like Tuesday’s, where the ball never left Tatum’s hands before he took a Kobe Bryant-esque 17-foot fallaway. Tatum has also missed versions of that shot against the Pistons,…


Source link : https://sports.yahoo.com/breaking-down-celtics-last-second-162846752.html

Author : NBC Sports Boston

Publish date : 2024-03-06 16:28:46

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