Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dissecting The Game Loser

This article was originally published for CelticsLife.com


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, likely in an effort to replicate his game winner in Miami, Pierce decided to take it himself.  Obviously, it didn't work out that way. He lost possession of the ball and time expired. Not very heroic. About the play, Pierce said: "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".

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.

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