Doc Rivers made a major mistake in Game 2

We might be looking at a 2-0 series lead for the Boston Celtics if their end-game execution was a little more sound.

By ordering Rajon Rondo to commit a foul with 14.4 seconds remaining, Doc Rivers and the Celtics gave away whatever chance they had of getting a stop, calling a timeout and inbounding from midcourt to go for the win.

To recap:

Rondo missed an open foul-line jumper that would have given the Celts a three-point lead with 54 seconds to go. After Evan Turner’s bucket, a step-back jumper off the dribble by Allen was off the mark with 28 seconds left. That’s a 4-second differential between the shot clock and the game clock.

Rondo, who took a really smart foul at the end of Game 1 that denied the Sixers a chance for a potential tying 3-pointer, took a not-so-smart one – on the orders of Rivers – that reset the shot clock to 14 seconds with just 14.4 seconds remaining. The foul needed to be taken much earlier, but the Celtics appeared committed to trying to get a stop — and then they didn’t.

Blame: Rivers.

Turner’s two free throws made gave the Sixers a 78-75 lead. The Celtics drew up a play in which Garnett first screened for Allen, then for Paul Pierce. But his second screen on Andre Iguodala looked more like a chip block by a running back, and referee Michael Smith called an offensive foul. It was a really tough call at that point of the game, but it was the right one.

So we have a 1-1 series in the East.

Chris Sheridan of and Noah Coslov of CineSport discuss that play, the Lakers’ no-show in Game 1 against the Thunder, and the question of how long Chris Bosh of the Heat will be sidelined.


  1. John says

    You missed one thing. Sixers had a foul to give. So, they could foul and then C’s wouldn’t have 4 seconds. They would have 2-3 seconds in the best case scenario.

  2. says

    It was flawed reasoning. Doc is good at pulling the wool over people’s eyes sometimes. There is one thing, and one thing only to do: Get the stop, get the rebound, call timeout. Coaching 101. If there had been a 2-second or 3-second discrepancy, that’s another matter. 4 seconds was enough to execute the game-winning play.

    • DA says

      Yeah, but he mentioned that on his post game conference. He said that if they didn’t commit the foul and tried to get the rebound (IF Philly missed the shot which was unlikely at that point, considering they made last 8 of their 9 shots), there’d only be about 2 secs left by the time they get the rebound and call a time out (Also, do not forget that Boston is by far the worst rebounding team in the league. So it’s not guaranteed that they’d get the rebound). And he said that 2 seconds probably wouldn’t be long enough to execute anything. You can argue on whether if 2 secs is long enough to execute a play or not, but I think he made the right call. After all, it’s not guaranteed that you’re gonna get the ball on the next possession if you don’t foul. But if you do, you’re gonna have another chance for sure. Boston did have another chance, but Garnett committed the foul.

      Nevertheless, your perspective might be different on the issue. It’s not exact science. Doc had two choices at that point, and he thought that fouling and resetting the clock to 14 might give Boston a better chance of winning. But labeling it as a “major mistake” is the part I completely disagree.

  3. DA says

    No one screwed up on that possession. Doc explained why he yelled Rondo to foul. He explained the reasoning behind it. If you had watched the post game interview, you would’ve known it.


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