Boston Celtics: FinalPlay
April, 4, 2012
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
Spurs Broadcast ScreenshotPaul Pierce coming off the pick-and-roll to start the final possession for Boston.BOSTON -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers liked just about everything about the final play of Wednesday's game -- except the fact that the shot didn't go in.
Boston got the look it wanted when Tim Duncan switched onto Paul Pierce off a pick-and-roll, but Pierce's step-back jumper at the free throw line found back iron as the Spurs escaped with an 87-86 triumph at TD Garden.
"Listen, Paul Pierce taking a step-back at the [free throw line], that's not a bad option," said Rivers. "I just wish we could have done it a bit earlier."
The Celtics were down 4 with 46.5 seconds to play, but Ray Allen -- back after a six-game absence due to a sore right ankle -- hit a quick 3-pointer and Boston came up with a stop at the other end of the floor to set up a chance to win the game.
Boston didn't make particularly good use of the clock, scrambling to call a 20-second timeout with 7.9 seconds remaining after Garnett initially hauled in the Spurs' miss with 15.9 seconds to go. Even still, Boston got the ball into Pierce's hands (off a little screen from Rajon Rondo) and forced San Antonio to switch when Garnett came out to run the pick-and-roll.
Pierce, the newly minted Eastern Conference Player of the Month, had a chance to drive with a little more than 5 seconds on the clock, but seemed leery given that San Antonio had both a foul to give and Manu Ginobili was cheating toward the lane as Pierce started driving right. Pierce ultimately reset and came back to the middle of the court, getting the shot up over Duncan, but it was just a little long.
"I was trying to make the shot," said Pierce. "I got the switch on the big man, got to a good place -- I just missed the shot.”