Morning sports update: The Celtics’ final play against the Bucks wasn’t originally meant for Kyrie Irving

"Once that play was done, the second option was for Kyrie."

Kyrie Irving vs. Bucks
Kyrie Irving in the second half of the Celtics-Bucks game. –AP Photo/Aaron Gash

The Celtics fell in Milwaukee to the Bucks on Thursday, 98-97. The loss means the Celtics are now 7.5 games behind the Bucks in the Eastern Conference. Boston now heads to Chicago to play the Bulls on Saturday night at 8 p.m.

The Bruins will be in St. Louis on Saturday to face the Blues at 4 p.m.

Kyrie Irving was not the first option on the final shot: With 3.5 seconds remaining, the Celtics had a chance to hit the winning bucket. Ultimately, the ball ended up in the hands of Kyrie Irving, whose contested shot missed.

Afterward, the Celtics indicated that the original plan was to get the ball to Marcus Morris.

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“We were looking for Morris off of Kyrie’s down screen,” said Marcus Smart to NBC Sports Boston’s A. Sherrod Blakely. In Smart view, Morris was held by Khris Middleton, who prevented the Celtics from running the play through their primary option. The alternative at that point was Irving.

“The dude was holding,” Smart explained. “[Morris] had been held. Once that play was done, the second option was for Kyrie. He made a great play, got the ball up. We had a chance.”

Brad Stevens also acknowledged that Morris was the intended recipient of the pass.

“I tried to set a good screen for Mook,” Irving told reporters. “I don’t know if he got fouled or not. I had 3.5 seconds and tried to make the best play.”

This wasn’t the first time this season that a failed final play for Boston has run through another player other than Irving. In a loss to the Magic in January, Irving appeared to disagree with Stevens after the Boston coach drew up a play that ran through Jayson Tatum.

More from Boston.com:

Dan Shaughnessy’s tribute to Nick Cafardo: Boston Globe Red Sox beat writer Nick Cafardo, 62, died suddenly on Thursday. Beloved by all who knew him, Cafardo was remembered in a moving piece from Globe columnist Dan Shaughenssy.

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Willie McGinest predicted where he thinks Le’Veon Bell will go in free agency:

On this day: February 22nd has been a golden day for USA hockey. Both the men’s and women’s teams have won memorable games to either clinch or help clinch gold medals at past Olympics.

In 1980, the U.S. men completed the “Miracle on Ice” against the Soviet Union, defeating their vaunted rivals 4-3 in Lake Placid. The final minute is still nerve-racking to watch:

And in 2018, the U.S. women won gold against Canada, 3-2. Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored the impeccable shootout winner:

Daily highlight: The Celtics lost on Thursday night, but this was nice from Marcus Smart.

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