It's the little things

April, 20, 2011
4/20/11
9:14
AM ET
Comcast SportsNet ScreenshotIt didn't look like much, but the Celtics had a plan to run out the clock.
On the surface, Boston's clock-killing final offensive possession doesn't look like much. But, if you trust New York's Carmelo Anthony, the Celtics took advantage of the fact that he was completely gassed at game's end and ran a play aimed at making him chase a fresh body.

And after a monster 42-point, 17-rebound effort, Melo simply didn't have the energy to do it.

Here's how it went down: The Celtics were still clinging to a one-point lead when Kevin Garnett forced a Jared Jeffries turnover and called a timeout with 4.1 seconds to play. The stoppage helped Boston advance the ball into the frontcourt, but coach Doc Rivers drew up a seemingly super simple play in which backup point guard Delonte West received the inbounds toss from Rajon Rondo in the backcourt and attempted to dribble out the clock.

Pushing off of Anthony as he sprinted towards the New York end, West created immediate space, caught the ball near the Knicks' 3-point line and, about the only thing he did wrong, was not simply burying himself in the corner to force the opposition to chase him further. Eventually, Anthony and three defenders swarmed for the intentional foul, but not before the Celtics left only 0.6 seconds on the clock.

Without a timeout, the Knicks were forced to settle for a desperation -court heave by Bill Walker at the buzzer that wasn't even close.

“I couldn’t get out there, I couldn’t get out there," said Anthony. "I don’t want to fall flat now. I think Doc Rivers drew up a hell of a play though, man. A lot of us thought that the ball was coming in the front court, he threw it in the back court, it took a lot of time off the clock. You’ve got to take your hat off to Doc for drawing up a hell of a play like that.”

Added Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni: "[West] just got away. I think Melo was going, 'I don’t think I can get out there.' He was so tired at that point. It was tough. He’s just got away from us.”

Without a timeout, the Knicks couldn't afford to take Anthony off the court before the inbounds. It's the second straight game they've been hurt by not having another timeout.

And the Celtics and their coaching staff continue to do the little things late in the game to produce wins. It's the difference in the series.

Comcast SportsNet ScreenshotOut of energy, Carmelo Anthony could barely chase Delonte West.

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jeff Green
PTS AST STL MIN
16.9 1.7 0.7 34.2
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.1
AssistsR. Rondo 9.8
StealsR. Rondo 1.3
BlocksB. Bass 0.9