PHILADELPHIA — A career 38.5 percent 3-point shooter before this season, Courtney Lee is 7 of 27 from beyond the arc this season and has missed a series of pivotal shots. Friday’s was a crusher in the 95-94 overtime loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, leaving him to ponder his shortcomings after the game.
With the Celtics ahead 1 point with 25.9 seconds left in overtime, Rajon Rondo found an open Lee in the corner, his favorite spot on the floor. Lee gathered the pass and fired a 23-footer that never had a chance, the ball soaring 3 feet over the basket for an embarrassing airball.
“I mean I know Doc (Rivers) talked to the media and probably said it was unfair that I was sitting like 12 minutes (before the shot) but it doesn’t matter,” Lee said. “NBA players we get paid to play this game. At least, I got hit the rim and give us a chance to get the offensive rebound. I didn’t do that so I’m very disappointed in myself.
“I know when I took the shot, I was stiff so I overshot it to try to make sure it got there. But I put a little too much umph in it. I gotta be able to make the shot or hit the rim, at least.”
Lee has been playing well of late, providing defensive spark but his offense has yet to meet expectations. He began the season as the starting shooting guard but lost his job to Jason Terry. He was 4-for-22 shooting from the 3-point line in November and has hit just one 3-pointer in 10 home games.
Friday was an opportunity to seize the moment, seal an important victory with a clutch shot, but it wasn’t even close.
“The confidence is always going to be there because I’ve been playing basketball for a while,” he said. “I can’t count or recall how many times I’ve shot and airball but you’ve just got to continue to work and keep practicing, that’s all.”