Warriors guard Monta Ellis earned lofty praise for playing all 48 minutes and pouring in a game-high 37 points, but it might have been his ability to simply haul in a long pass from Vladimir Radmanovic in the final seconds that proved to be his biggest play of the night.
With Golden State clinging to a two-point advantage and forced to inbound from the sideline with 4.4 seconds to play, the Celtics employed big men Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnett to defend the pass and it forced the Warriors to initially burn a timeout with 6-foot-2 C.J. Watson attempted to throw the ball in.
The Warriors switched to Radmanovic, a 6-10 forward who lofted a risky pass to the opposite free-throw line, where Celtics guard Tony Allen barely missed picking it off and Ellis scrambled to coral the ball. Fouled by Allen, Ellis capped his scoring with two freebies at the other end of the court to seal the victory.
“[Ellis] played great for them," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "He basically saved the game for them at the end of the game with that play. One misstep and Tony [Allen] would have had a layup. [Ellis] made a great adjustment to get to the ball and maintain control.”
Ellis connected on 15 of 26 attempts, and added four assists. Celtics guard Ray Allen admitted there was little the Green could do to slow him.
“We started out putting one-and-a-half guys on him to start the game, which turned into two guys guarding him and that didn’t work," said Allen. "By that time it was too late. He basically had his way with us tonight."
Said Ellis of his big night: “[Scoring is] really just coming to me. I’m trying to get everybody involved -- got myself going, and they keyed in on me, so I moved the ball and everybody got involved.”