With just over ten seconds on the clock and the Boston Celtics trailing by one; Atlanta Hawks forward, Josh Smith searched the court for a teammate to inbound the ball to...

1. The Celtics have no time outs left with ten seconds on the clock. If Doc Rivers is playing for the steal, he should have his best catch-and-shoot player, scratch that, the league's best catch-and-shoot player on the court. I see him, however his feet are on dark wood, not the bright parquet of Phillips Arena. Ray Allen is standing on the sidelines to start this play.

2. I understand the need to go with defense on the play, enter Avery Bradley. However, with no time outs there is no way Allen is getting into the game should your defensive mindset work and you get a steal. On top of this, Bradley had not played since the 5:38 mark of the third quarter and was ice cold.

3. Examine the matchups on this defensive stand. They are doubling Joe Johnson with the inbounder's man no matter what; Rajon Rondo and Mickael Pietrus are there. Kevin Garnett is on Al Horford and Paul Pierce is on Marvin Williams. Where is Bradley? He is being entirely wasted standing next to Jeff Teague on the other side of the court. The ball is going one place in this situation for Atlanta and that is to Johnson. Doc needs to know this and realize Bradley is useless on this possession. Allen could check Teague easily and should you get the steal you want, you have a 4-inch mismatch on the offensive transition.

4. Smith, albeit dumbly, forces the pass to Johnson, which Boston should have known was going to happen. In fact, since they doubled him, didn't they know? Again, Bradley is useless on Teague. Rondo comes away with the steal. Everything went exactly to plan, which given the personnel on the court, was not the plan. 

5. For everything Smith screwed up on the inbounds play, he saved the game by stepping in front of Rondo immediately following the steal. Watch as Bradley streaks open across center court, but the 6-9 Smith blinds Rondo, and Bradley continues on to the corner.

6. Where the Hell is everyone running to? Is the plan an isolation play for the worst shooter on the court? Awful work from Pietrus, Pierce and Bradley running directly to the right corner and standing around. Another issue with Bradley here, he is in the corner, Pietrus and Pierce to his left. The perfect set up for the vintage "Allen wrap around/weave through the double pick for an open three," but Allen was still on the bench.

7. Rondo crosses half-court with six seconds to go, guarded by Smith. Garnett is the lone man on the left half of the court, while the three amigos stand uselessly on the right, doing as much to help the cause as I was while sitting on my couch.

8. Here comes the play, maybe Doc did have an idea about what was to transpire should they get the steal. KG rises to set the pick on Smith, but he is forced to set it too high. This is the lone part that is Rondo's fault here. He needs to take that ball straight at Smith and not zig-zag him to the three-point line.

9. I've watched a lot of Kevin Garnett's career, and that might be the worst pick I've ever seen him set. He does an atrocious job sealing off Smith and is merely a swinging gate allowing him through before popping out for the 26 footer. This leaves Rondo being smothered in the corner by two defenders an average 8.5 inches taller than him.

10. What worries me about this is that Garnett showed zero killer instinct on the play. This was a dismal example that he has essentially become a straight jump shooter on the offensive end. He set a weak pick on Smith and popped outside. Knowing the type of over-aggressive player Smith is, Garnett should have sealed the pick and rolled to the basket. Because he popped out, Rondo had to change direction and keep dribbling instead of a simple wrap around pass - evading Horford - to KG in an empty painted area.

.9. Boston loses 87-86 while Horford and Smith express joy in polar opposite ways. Boston will come home Thursday night to a rocking Garden crowd and will still most likely win the series. I just hope Doc and company take a serious look at the number of things that were done poorly before and during the final 10.9 seconds.

Walsh 5/09/2012 05:00:00 PM Edit
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