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Thursday, December 13, 2012
Rivers OK with last-second shots

By Chris Forsberg

ESPN Broadcast ScreenshotCeltics captain Paul Pierce gets his overtime shot blocked by Dahntay Jones.
BOSTON -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers accepted the blame for two poorly executed final-shot attempts, both of which could have won Wednesday's double-overtime thriller against the Dallas Mavericks, but both were blocked as defenders smothered the right elbow and prevented Boston from generating a quality chance to win.

At the end of regulation, point guard Rajon Rondo produced a steal when he poked the ball away from O.J. Mayo from behind as the Dallas guard took a high handoff and attempted to streak into the paint. Alas, Kevin Garnett made a pass before the Celtics were awarded a timeout, forcing the team to take the inbounds in front of its own bench (instead of advancing the ball past midcourt) with 6.9 seconds to play. Rondo came off a Paul Pierce pick, but couldn't shake defender Derrick Fisher, who got enough of the ball to block the final-shot opportunity and send the game to overtime tied at 96.

A Rondo step-back from the elbow seemingly isn't an ideal look, but his blossoming mid-range game makes it a viable option now in Boston's late-game playbook. The Celtics likely had a secondary option with the ball going to Pierce if Dallas switched the pick-and-roll, but Fisher stayed with Rondo through the screen and Boston's other players were buried in the corners spacing the floor.

In overtime, Boston had a bit more time to work with -- 11.1 seconds and inbounding from inside of half court in a tied game -- but did little to maximize that opportunity. Rondo dribbled nearly seven seconds off the clock before an awkward bounce pass to Pierce, who had been driven out toward the arc by Dahntay Jones. Pierce rushed for his standard elbow step-back, but was smothered by Jones and Pierce didn't come close on his shot attempt (like Fisher, Jones was credited with a block for deflecting the final shot).

Said Rondo of the overtime attempt: "The second overtime we got the ball to Paul and give [the Mavericks] credit, they played good D. It's just how it is."

Rivers ultimately took the blame for the two poor looks. While he didn't mind how the plays unfolded, he acknowledged he could have drawn up two better plays.

Maybe Jeff Green summed up Boston's disposition best: "We got into the plays that we wanted to get into. I don’t know, I’m just happy we won. I’m glad it's over.”