With just under 40 seconds left in the fourth quarter last night, Celtics had the ball with a tie score. Kyrie Irving brought the ball up and the Celtics had time and options.
Kyrie was ready to go into Kyrie mode… With 15 seconds left on the shot clock and about 35 on the game clock, he was content to wave off Al Horford, and get ready to create another Kyrie shot for the lead.
At the same time, Brad Stevens is imploring Kyrie to go… he’s motioning for the offense to start. Once he sees Horford waved off… he calls a time out. Here’s the play:
You can see as he walks onto the court, Brad goes right to Kyrie and says “you gotta get the two-for-one.
Kyrie was clearly ready to wind down the clock, hit another clutch shot, and let the defense do its work.
Stevens, though, wanted the two-for-one… a quick pick-and-roll with Horford to get a good shot with about 30 seconds on the clock or so. This way, if the C’s miss or if they score and Dallas matches, there’s a chance to win in regulation rather than go into overtime.
Now, of course, they DID go into overtime but the way Kyrie was cooking, it would have been MUCH better had he gone into the pick-and-roll right away with Horford rather than have Brad call the time out to set up a quick play.
You can argue that at that point, Stevens should have just let the play go rather than let Dallas set their defense, but he really wanted that two-for-one.
Regardless, this is an example of Stevens’ coaching that we don’t usually see. He called a time out with about 31.4 seconds on the clock to stop his superstar guard… who at that point was dominating and leading a comeback… to make sure he had a grasp of the team philosophy.
How many other coaches, including coaches in Irving’s past, would stop the game at that time to make his point?
We talk about Brad’s coaching all the time… this situation gives us a little insight into that.
(Shout out to my brother Nick for catching this)