Needless to say, the final play of Boston’s 98-96 loss to the Grizzlies Wednesday night did not go the Celtics’ way. After the game, there was some dispute between the players and coach Doc Rivers as to what happened.
According to Rivers, the play was designed for Gerald Green to cut to the basket for a lob. Rivers assumed Memphis would double Paul Pierce. They did. Rivers assumed Green would be wide open on the backdoor cut. He was. But Sebastian Telfair never found Green, electing instead to shoot a contested three-pointer that clanged harmlessly off the backboard.
“They played good defense,” said Green. “They denied Paul. Sebastian was aware of the clock I’m assuming. We have to live with it. “
According to Telfair, the play was designed for Pierce but Memphis prevented the play from developing.
“They knew we were going to our All-Star,” said Telfair.
Rivers saw things differently.
“That was a hell of a comeback spoiled,” said Rivers. “The play was for Gerald. He was wide open. We knew they would not switch off Paul, so we curled him around. He had, probably a lay-up. But we didn’t make that pass.”
Rivers said he thought his team was probably hesitant to make yet another turnover. The team had 20 turnovers in the game.
“I told them the play we were going to draw up for Gerald means they were going to have to throw the ball up towards the rim,” said Rivers. “And I guaranteed them that they guy would be behind him, and there would be nobody there. I can understand you’re not willing to make that turnover.”
Rivers said the second option was Pierce, but he stressed that the third option was to drive the basketball.
“You had 2.5 seconds left against a team that would not foul you,” said Rivers.
“I guarantee in April it doesn’t matter,” said Scalabrine. “This is a loss. We need wins. It’s good that I made shots, but we have to get some W’s.”
“I think that we just need to be more patient,” said Green. “Sometimes we force turnovers by forcing the issue when it’s not there.”
If the Celtics were taking any positives away from the night, it was Green’s play.
“Gerald has clearly earned the minutes,” said Rivers. “He’s going to have to play more. He’s making shots, he’s playing under control and he’s trying to rebound. So I’m just thrilled for him. Not for our team right now.”
“It wasn’t just me,” said Gay. “My teammates put me in a good situation. He (Mike Miller) drew the people, and it was an open shot.”