In an NBA game with 93 possessions per team, the margin of error is small. On Tuesday night in Orlando, the Celtics scored 1.02 points per possession. The Magic tallied .99 points per possession. Think about that for a second. The winning team in Game 2 scored .03 points more each trip downcourt than the losing team. Yet, tomorrow around the digital water cooler, we'll speak of the Magic's failures in epic terms.
The novelty quotient on J.J. Redick's miscue was the highest of the bunch. Redick dribbled after collecting a crucial offensive rebound with about seven seconds remaining and his team trailing by three. His snafu denied the Magic the opportunity to advance the ball into their frontcourt for a final attempt at a 3-pointer to tie. Though Vince Carter's pair of missed free throws will certainly attract those who make a pastime of schadenfreude at Carter's expense.
These were costly mistakes, but neither achieved the level of true meltdown status. Instead, it was the aggregate failure to execute that did them in. And the sum of that failure was just enough to tip the scales .03 points per possession.
We take a look at the closing minutes of Game 2: