Sebastian Pruiti runs a great blog called NBA Playbook. On the site he looks at games and breaks down certain plays - explaining what happened. Today, he chose to focus on the last play the Celtics ran in regulation - which should have been the game winner. The play has gotten a lot of attention since it turned out so disastrous. ESPNBoston's Chris Forsberg wrote a piece on it today - saying it was a microcosm of the team's struggles that night.

When Pruiti looks at the play, he points out that it was a Pick and Roll designed to go to Ray Allen. And, it worked - Ray was left wide open. Instead of getting him the ball though, Pierce  - likely in an effort to replicate his game winner in Miami - decided to take it himself.  Obviously, it didn't work out. He lost possession of the ball and time expired. Not very heroic. Pierce said about the play: "It was a pick-and-roll, me and Ray Allen. I just pretty much screwed it up, pretty much turned the ball over, and that's all it is. I couldn't get the final shot."

Pruiti's take is that Pierce was being selfish: "This is simply Paul Pierce entering “hero-mode” and just putting his head down to try and win the game for his team". Forsberg is a little more defensive of 'The Truth', "...with Pierce dribbling toward Rondo, he abandoned the idea of passing given how crowded it became". Doc explains how the whole play fell apart, "It was supposed to be Paul at the top with a pick-and-roll with Ray. The floor was supposed to be flat and spaced. When you look at it, half our team was standing next to Paul."

I have to agree with Pruiti's in-depth X's and O's analysis. Looking at the freeze frame pictures he provides, one can clearly see Ray wide open on the perimeter. If Paul gets him the ball, that would've been the game.

To read the breakdown on NBA playbook click here. It's definitely worth the read. Also, the video is below.

Michael Saver 5/25/2010 02:24:00 PM Edit
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11 Responses so far.

  1. Karl says:

    He does this all the time, it's like a broken record. He's the set up guy but Ray should be getting the ball for the last shot everytime.

  2. JR says:

    In Pierce's defense, Doc should have called for a timeout there. But I agree more Ray at the buzzer please.

  3. Anonymous says:

    If Celtics can take this series, I won't watch any C's game in the future.

  4. Anonymous says:


  5. Ian says:

    Rondo has blame to shoulder as he stayed even with Pierce clapping for the ball which left Nelson free to interfere with Pierce. He was suppose to flatten out to the baseline. I think all the Rondo talk went to his head a little. Pierce has willingly given up the ball on that same play for game winners to Ray, KG, and Big Baby so I don't think it was selfishness. And he really didn't have a great angle to pass to Allen.

  6. Anonymous says:

    No denfense in 1st Quarter.

  7. Jenda says:

    He didn't have a good look at Allen at all. Plus Pierce is probably used to take the clutch shots from the C's mediocre (or just) times. I won't blame him for this - at least if we win next game.

  8. Bohemian says:

    Rondo was hurt and he is the engine of this team right now. Without him the team didn't really run well. Also 2 of the other 3 key young players were hurt too: Tony and Perk. And if the young legs were hurt, the older ones just got exhausted. Plain and simple.

  9. The Coach says:

    Plan and simple, if you have 3 timeouts and the ball at home with a chance to go to the NBA finals right then and there you use the timeout and another if you have to. The guys were exhausted and they have run that play hundreds of times where Ray sets the screen on the ball and then gets a fade screen for the skip pass. Doc has been so good out of timeouts during the game as well as down the stretch that this was mind boggling.

    Lets hope they wrap this up tonight.

  10. They didn't call a timeout mainly because the Magic were in a small line up and thought they could take advantage.

  11. Three Toe says:

    I was going to say what Saver said here. The timeout would have put better orlando defenders on the floor. This is was all on Rondo and Pierce. Rondo is like, "I'm away from Nelson, somehow that means i should get the ball to take the game-winner from behind the arc. i'll stay right here." Nelson was like, "I don't have to guard Rondo behind the line, let me fill the lane so I can harass Pierce." Pierce was like, "Well I should get the ball to an open ray allen, but instead im gonna show rondo that I'M still the hero and do something awesome."

    Advantage: Nelson.

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