I’m still processing last night’s loss to the Bucks. The team couldn’t shoot for shit, yet still nearly pulled it out. You could chalk it up as a moral victory considering they were on the road without two rotation players (Baynes, Hayward). Either way, I’m feeling emotional about a few things and want to share:
1. There were two fouls on the final play. Eric Bledsoe definitely bumped Kyrie Irving on the floater and Khris Middleton grabbed/hooked Marcus Morris as he made the first cut on the inbounds play. The Middleton foul was most egregious and would have given the Celtics one free throw and possession.
2. There’s been some criticism about the final play and execution. First, I approve of Brad’s design. Morris is the first option only if he’s open for a lay-up (and not fouled). Jayson Tatum is there to space the floor. Both move to create distraction and space for Kyrie. The play is essentially a pick-and-pop with Kyrie and Al.
Some called for Kyrie to pass off to a wide-open Al Horford. There were about 1.2 seconds remaining at the time of the above screenshot. I argue it’s not enough time for Al to set and shoot smoothly. Tatum and/or Morris maybe, but not Al.
3. Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for 32 points on 13-22 FGs. They were Boston’s most efficient offensive players by far. Horford and Irving shot 17-48 FGs. Tatum didn’t sniff a shot in the final 3+ minutes and Brown couldn’t even get on the floor (Brad opted for Morris to guard Brook Lopez while Al guarded Giannis). This is another example of the push-pull between the budding stars and the established ones.
4. Kyrie Irving’s defensive effort in the 1st half was weak. It was almost as if he refused to sprint back on defense. His intensity picked up somewhat in the 3rd quarter as he hit the floor for loose balls and notched a few steals. But in a season where his increased effort has been noticeable, this was a bad showing.
5. Why do media outlets ignore obvious fouls like Giannis mauling Jayson Tatum on this dunk attempt?
This reminds me of ESPN’s incessant replay of LeBron James’ block/hack on Terry Rozier in last year’s playoffs. It’s not a great play. Oh, Giannis gets all the calls. ALL OF THEM.