Boston 85 Utah 84
This was one of the worst offensive performances I’ve ever witnessed. The Celtics were up 34-33 at halftime. Shots started falling in the second half for both teams, but just barely.
In the final seconds, Gordon Hayward got Tyler Zeller to follow him off a pick-and-roll. He stepped back and hit a beautiful fadeaway jumper, stunning the crowd and leaving the Cs only 1.7 seconds to respond.
Here’s what Brad drew up:
The key is this: 7’2 Rudy Gobert, who boasts an outrageous 9’7 standing reach, was tasked with guarding the inbound pass. Smart was undeterred and fired a beauty to Zeller, conveniently facing the hoop.
When he made it, Hayward’s shot had been a dagger. The odds were not in the Cs’ favor to follow-up.
But Gigi Datome reminded Zeller before the play, 1.7 seconds is enough time for an up-fake. It worked, and as a result, the Cs grab the W on the second night of a back-to-back and avoid a second consecutive tough loss.
The Celtics were 33/88 (37.5%) from the field, 8/27 (29.6%) from Three, and 11/20 (55%) from the line. They literally did themselves no favors, except for one thing: they turned the ball over three times, and allowed 0 Points off of Turnovers. And oh, by the way, those are franchise records.
Once again, Isaiah and Crowder led the team coming off the bench. Crowder had 18 Points on 8/17 shooting, 4 Rebounds, 2 Assists and a Block. He missed four free throws, but his efficiency trumps that one caveat. Isaiah had 21 Points (6/12; 2/5), 7 Assists, 3 Rebounds and a Steal in 26 Minutes. That’s right, 21 Points in twenty-six minutes.
The Celtics couldn’t hit the ocean from a boat, but Isaiah and Crowder could. The whole team definitely looked tired from playing the night before, and from flying round-trip within the same day. But now they have just under 48 hours to rest before getting back to it on Friday.
Also, Olynyk played a forgettable 7 Minutes, going 0/3 as he shakes the rust off after missing 18 games. Allow him this one. He’ll be better next time.
This was a win they needed to have. Coming off a 30-point drubbing, the only thing that mattered was responding. They did just that, keeping the coals burning. The Celtics are 11-8 in their last nineteen.
Just keeping playing ball.
Interesting matchup: New Orleans on Friday.
Homer Johnsen is a freelance writer and Celtics voodoo practitioner. He decapitates a chicken before every Celtics game. His Celtics reactions and Voodoo writings are available right here on HeresTheDealLikeShaquille.