The other day we noted how Paul Pierce's shot at the end of regulation against Houston fell apart and the fourth quarter ended -- according to the game log -- without a final shot even being registered (it was a moot point after Pierce missed, sending the game to overtime where the Rockets prevailed).
But we figured it'd be a good idea to delve a little deeper and show you why these plays are failing. Our good friends over at Red's Army already provided a nice breakdown earlier today, but here's a couple more thoughts with some stills from ESPN's highlights (you can watch the video HERE):
As Celtics coach Doc Rivers noted after Tuesday's game, the final play was drawn up for Ray Allen. With Chris Duhon chasing, Allen pretended to be running off a Rasheed Wallace pick, but quickly reversed as Kevin Garnett came with a beautiful back pick that stopped Duhon in his tracks.
Fresh off banking in a pivotal bucket in the final minute, Danilo Gallinari does a nice job not getting tangled chasing Garnett and switched to Allen off the pick. By closing on Allen, he prevented Rondo from delivering the ball. Could Allen have gotten off a shot? Maybe. Would it have been pretty shooting over 6-foot-10 Gallinari? Probably not.
At this point the final play is busted and Rondo is forced to find a backup plan. Trouble is, it doesn't appear the Celtics had one. David Lee, all 6-foot-9 of him, is harassing Rondo on the wing. You can make the case that Wallace should have drifted back from Duhon after setting the initial pick, or Pierce could have shuffled to his right to allow a more manageable passing lane for Rondo.
With Allen swarmed, Garnett inside the arc, and Pierce too far away from the play, Rondo's only viable option was Wallace, who finally started shuffling backwards as the clock ticked under 2 seconds. The pass didn't leave Rondo's hands until there was about 1.4 seconds to play, and since the distressed feed was high, Wallace never had a chance at getting off a shot before the buzzer.
Give Gallinari credit for reacting. The Celtics certainly didn't when he jumped out on Allen.