Dissecting The Game Loser

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.