Breakdown of the last minute in the Celtics-Bucks game
Last night's game was an exciting one from start to finish. We got to see the new additions do their thing early and obviously we got that crazy game-winning bank shot by Tatum over Giannis. I definitely could’ve gone without the Bucks coming back from 17 points in the fourth quarter, but hey the Cs won so it’s whatever. Let’s break down how the Celtics overcame the Bucks comeback in the last minute or so to eventually win the game.
So at 1:10, Jrue Holiday gets the mismatch against Theis, creates the space and hits a step-back three to make the game 120-119. You would’ve thought that Theis got switched on to Jrue Holiday right before, but he was actually just covering him the whole time. It’s tough because the only big man that the Buck’s had out there was Giannis and he was being covered by Jaylen. Theis got a hand in Holiday’s face, but Holiday’s just a great player who was having a great game, so they just had to live with that.
After that, a timeout by the Celtics is called and they stick with the Teague/Smart/Brown/Tatum/Theis look. The next possession, Tatum drives to the basket and gets a decent look at a layup, but Giannis’s length at the rim was just enough to make him miss. Then as Giannis get’s the rebound, he finds DiVincenzio going down the court for a possible fast break. Jeff Teague played the break perfectly; he came at great angle, didn’t run too fast and go past him and made an incredibly accurate swipe at the ball to make it loose from DiVincenzio’s hands and hit himself to turn the ball over. That was one of the most crucial plays of the game and Teague made his presence known from start to finish.
The Celtics take their sixth timeout after that and keep the same lineup, but Brook Lopez enters the game for the Bucks. The Celtics possession after that, Tatum finds himself doubled after Theis sets a pick, so Tatum drives a little and kicks to Theis for three. He missed the shot, but it was a smart pass by Tatum and Theis was hitting threes earlier so I was okay with it. The Bucks go down the floor and wear down the clock as they still lead. Middleton has the ball on the left three point wing with Jaylen on him. Lopez sets a pick on Jaylen to get the Middleton-Theis mismatch, then Middleton pulls up for a mid-range jumper above the free throw line. Middleton gets space, but Theis gets a late hand in there and Middleton misses the shot.
Tatum grabs the rebound and the Celts bring it down the court with 22.7 seconds left. The Celtics work the ball around until Giannis fouls Jaylen with 8.9 seconds left in the game. Honestly, that was a weak foul and if there wasn’t a foul then Tatum would’ve had a wide open three. I mean it would’ve been his most open shot of the night. If we didn’t win I would’ve been pissed about that foul. But after the Celtics called their final timeout of the night, I don’t even need to tell you guys what happened:
This was so awesome, right in Giannis’s face too. Tatum’s footwork on that play was impeccable and it took a lot of guts to take that shot. But, if he missed that shot, are we calling it a good shot still? Probably not. Did I want the ball in Tatum’s hands? Of course. Did I want Tatum to bring the clock all the way down to .4 seconds without moving the ball and then taking a side-step three over the 2019-20 defensive player of the year and MVP? Hell no. But did Tatum’s decision making make that play way more awesome? Absolutely. Next time, I would say Brad should draw up a play for Tatum to get a good look at a layup, but who knows what Brad talked about in the timeout. Brad Stevens could’ve had an actual play after the timeout but Tatum thought taking that shot was the best idea. Or Brad could’ve taken the Laissez-Faire approach and just told Tatum to do whatever he wants with it because he’s Jayson Tatum. I wouldn’t have been that surprised with either.
So, with .4 seconds left on the clock, the Bucks give the Celtics a couple fake looks at what they are going to do, then call two timeouts. The Celtics eventually go back to their starting lineup to match up with the Bucks bigger lineup. Jrue Holiday passes the ball in to Giannis in the paint, who gets fouled by Thompson:
Bucks down 2 with 0.4 seconds left, and the refs actually call a foul on Tristan Thompson here...the NBA is officially back pic.twitter.com/zGQaMciKjY
At first it was confusing what the call was going to be. A foul on Giannis? On Thompson? Goaltending? It ended up being a foul on Thompson because Giannis fell at the end of the play. Sure, Giannis sold it enough I guess. Giannis goes to the line and hits the first one. Then the basketball Gods denied Giannis of hitting the second free throw. Celtics win the first game of the season in a battle. The ball never lies m**********r.