Jeff Green drives in the closing seconds of Wednesday's loss to the Pistons.BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics liked everything about their final shot except the result.
Jeff Green was a little too strong with a floater off a strong drive in the final seconds and the Detroit Pistons escaped TD Garden with a 107-106 triumph.
"I thought we got [Jared Sullinger] setting the screen for Jeff [Green] ... then they were going to play off that, just single pindown. And with four seconds left, I think the bottom line is to try and get it to a guy that you think can make a play and, even though it wasn’t a great night for Jeff overall, getting it into the middle of the floor with him driving in that direction –- we’ve all seen him make those plays time and again so I don’t have a problem with the last shot we got, by any means."
The Celtics got the ball back down a point with 17 seconds to go. An initial attempt fizzled, leaving Brandon Bass dribbling the ball in isolation for 13 seconds before Stevens called timeout with Bass uncertain whether to put up a shot or look elsewhere with the ball.
With five seconds on the game clock, Green took an inbounds pass above the 3-point arc. Josh Smith played hi tight 30 feet from the hoop and Green drove hard to his right. He got to the blocks, but Smith stayed with him and Green's 7-foot floater kissed off the glass and never had a chance to drop.
"Not every shot falls," said Green. "Josh made a good attempt to try to block it. It made me redirect my shot and I missed it."
The Celtics don't have a surefire go-to guy in crunchtime. Sullinger came up with the big shot to fend off Minneosta on Monday and nearly did it again with a go-ahead 3-pointer with 61 seconds to play on Wednesday (but Jennings answered with a triple of his own). Sullinger missed a free throw with a chance to tie the game with 41 seconds to play.
But with a penchant for game-winners (think Cleveland and Indiana last season; Miami this year), the Celtics were confident putting the ball in Green's hands.
"Jeff, out of everybody here, has hit more game-winning shots since I’ve been here," said Courtney Lee. "So I like my chances with him."
Echoed Sullinger: "I thought it was a great shot, it was a good look for us. Brad put me on the strong side with Jeff, where he had his right-hand. And it forced [Andre] Drummond to make a decision. And Drummond kind of stuck with me and Jeff had a good look. And then Josh did one hell of a job to contest the basketball."