A friend of mine was unable to watch last night's game, and asked me this morning about what happened past the box score. After ranting about a series of dicey calls by the refs, I began to discuss about the seemingly back breaking rebounds, mostly secured by Tristan Thompson.
Like anyone who got to watch the game, the rebounding discrepancy (8) didn't really feel like the main issue, it was just how back breaking each of their offensive rebounds felt. Not wanting to rest on my gut feeling, I decided to review each of Tristan Thompson's 5 offensive rebounds - The results, somehow, were even worse than I recalled.
Below you can find the scenario, outcome, and effect of each offensive rebound Thompson had. Warning: It's not for the faint of heart.
Offensive Rebound 1
The Scenario: 4:22 in the first, Timofey Mozgov shoots an 18 foot jumper. Thompson immediately starts jockeying for position. While he's tough to see in the picture, Tyler Zeller is directly under the hoop doing his best to combat Thompson. Jared Sullinger has left his man completely to get in better position to rebound.
The Effect: Thompson is able to get the ball back to Mozgov, who barrels over Tyler Zeller and slams it home.
Offensive Rebound 2
The Scenario: 5:37 left in the third quarter, the Celtics have begun to mount a bit of a comeback and are down just 10 points. Kevin Love takes a three point shot. Thompson immediately starts to fight for position. Olynyk and Sullinger pause, and apparently begin to ponder the meaning of life.
The Outcome: Thompson is able to secure the rebound with relative ease. If you start to look towards the right elbow, you might be able to guess how this ends.
The Effect: Thompson kicks the ball out to JR Smith, who converts the wide open 3 he was gifted.
Offensive Rebound 3
The Situation: 2:59 in the 3rd, now down just 7 points. JR Smith shoots a 3. Tristan Thompson again starts to fight for position. For reasons I'm not entirely sure of, Jared Sullinger walks directly under the basket and Jae Crowder starts to crash down, though with really minimal effort.
The Outcome: Thompson uses the space he was given by Sullinger to cleanly elevate and grab the rebound at it's highest point.
The Effect: Cleveland secures the ball, runs the clock down an additional 22 seconds and Kyrie Irving is able to connect on a 8 foot jumper.
Offensive Rebound 4
The Situation: 1:36 in the fourth, the Celtics have cut the lead down to 6. Lebron drains the shot clock down to 5 seconds and then shoots a 3. Thompson, who had just set a screen barrels his way towards the basket pretty much through Jae Crowder
The Outcome: Right before entering the paint, Thompson puts a nice swim move on Crowder and is able to secure the loose rebound after it bounces where Smart had been (he began to box Shumpert out more to the center of the court).
The Effect: Lebron again drains the clock down an additional 20 seconds, converts a tough layup on the left side over Zeller.
Offensive Rebound 5
The Situation: The Celtics are down 8.The Cavaliers drain the clock down, and then JR Smith takes a 3 with 46 seconds left. Thompson fights for position, Marcus Smart tries to box him out and Tyler Zeller puts out the peach basket and hopes the ball falls to him.
The Outcome: Smart actually wins the battle for position, but Thompson uses his long arms to tip the ball away before Smart can fully secure it. He then scrambles to the ball and recovers.
The Effect: Thompson kicks the ball out out to Kyrie Irving, who is immediately fouled. Irving hits both free throws. Ball game.
So there you have it. 5 offensive rebounds that led to 11 points, crucial minutes taken off the clock, and what would have to be a huge mental toll on the Celtic players. The frustrating aspect of it all is that a lot of this just comes down to momentarily lapses in effort.