The last play of the game wasn't shocking to me. It's happened before, and it happens often. As great as Rondo is, he has a flaw, and it's an issue that former Celtic greats point out. It's also obvious to many Celtics fans. Rondo's over dribbling of the basketball can hurt the Celtics, more often then not. Rondo was a +24 during Monday's game against Philly. But in the final play, with the Celtics down 111-108 with 15 seconds to go.
Rondo got the inbound pass from Green, and soon after Rondo dribbled, and dribbled until the clock was nearing zero. Soon before the clock ran out, Rondo dished the ball off to Chris Johnson, who had a foot out of bounds. So, I watched this play a few times. To me, the Celtics wasted the clock, and wasted an opportunity. They had more looks than coach Stevens led on. He's protecting his player, or players, and that's fine. But I hope he addresses it with the team during their last practice Tuesday morning.
"We were actually pretty spaced if you look at it. We had about 12 seconds left, and we'll take anything at that time. We wanted to get it in to [Rajon] Rondo, and we wanted to slip a pick-and-roll with Avery [Bradley], which we did. That usually causes some confusion when Avery slips out with the ball. They did a great job staying with it. [James] Anderson did a really good job staying with it, and as Kelly [Olynyk] sprinted up, we had a whole lot of space. You can take a two or three at that time, but he was looking for a three, and that’s okay.
Then we got jumbled up at the end because the clock was winding down and we didn't have another timeout. They did a good job late of forcing us to go into a second action when they switched everything on the in-bound play, which they did a couple of times late. What you want to do is get the ball in with 15 seconds and make sure that you can get action off of that. I thought we executed okay at different times tonight, but I thought that we certainly didn't get a clean look at the end."
One criticism of Stevens? Maybe I shouldn't be critical of Stevens, but Doc Rivers is the best timeout play caller in the NBA. He knew when it was time to setup a Ray Allen three, or a Paul Pierce elbow isolation. Doc also knew when it was time for a KG pick-an-pop, or an alley-oop. Stevens will get there in time, his play calling will grow as he understands his players strengths. The Celtics are down to one game, so Stevens will have a summer to build a detailed playbook.