It's not surprising to see the Celtics put the ball in the hands of Paul Pierce in a crunch-time situation. But the reason Pierce had the ball in the closing seconds of a tied game Wednesday night against Golden State Warriors was a bit unique.
"Paul had a play down the stretch where, [in an after-timeout play], he was the criminal in [messing up the play]," explained Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "But he came [to the bench] and said, ‘Hey, my fault guys.’ And that's basically why I gave him the ball back at the end. I’m figuring, usually when you make a mistake, you want to do something good. And he did. It was a heck of a pass that he gave to Kevin."
After running a high pick-and-roll with Garnett, Pierce drove hard down the lane as the shot clock (and game clock) ticked down, drawing a second defender and setting up Garnett for the wide-open look from the top of the key, which he buried for the deciding points in a 105-103 triumph at Oracle Arena (Screenshot from CSN Bay Area broadcast):
After the game, Garnett noted, "Whatever you want to call it. A simple play, kept it very simple. Paul had the one-on-one, he cut it off, came to me. We call it the Madison Square Garden."
Maybe it has to do with all the game-winners Boston has produced there, including the same KG pick-and-pop with Pierce back in 2009.
“It’s a play we’re run millions of time, me and him at the top in the high pick-and-roll," said Pierce. "Usually they’re going to switch and get the big man on me. I saw that they pressed up, so I drove the ball and collapsed on the defense and I found him wide open and he knocked down a big shot.”
About the only complaint for Rivers: Pierce waited an awfully long time before giving the ball to Garnett.
"I was worried, to say the least," said Rivers. "We thought they may switch and we told them, if they do switch, attack. Because usually when they switch and you attack, the big always goes to help -- it’s just human nature. And that’s exactly what Paul did and Kevin was there. But he waited a little late."