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.
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.
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 SheridanHoops.com 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.