The Celtics earned themselves a vital overtime win on Saturday night in Toronto thanks to a game-winning, buzzer beater from rookie point guard Marcus Smart
After a three-pointer by guard Lou Williams staked the Raptors to a 116-115 lead with just four seconds on the clock, Celtics coach Brad Stevens called timeout to set up on his increasingly famous out-of-bounds plays.
Brad Stevens is the best in game coach in the NBA. Pop has a better system / culture gets the rest stuff etc. But Stevens is best in game
— Haralabos Voulgaris (@haralabob) March 31, 2015
Out of that timeout, the ball somehow found itself in the hands of Jared Sullinger, barely 24 hours from his surprise return from a foot injury that was supposed to keep him out for the rest of the season. As he put the ball on the floor and began to drive, Stevens surprised everyone by calling another timeout, this one with 2.6 seconds to go.
The coach then went to work again, setting up Isaiah Thomas to take the inbounds pass with a running start from the backcourt. Thomas took the ball and with a full head of steam, exploded toward the rim. The only problem was, he lost the ball as he went up.
And then this happened.
Smart, who had drilled a huge corner three just a short time before, crashed the glass, came up with the loose ball and laid it in as the horn sounded. The Celtics won 117-116 to jump back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture on a night when both Miami and Brooklyn lost.
Stevens on the last play that won the game in OT: “It was for Isaiah. We told everybody to crash.” On Smart: “He made huge shots.”
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 5, 2015
The Celtics overcame not only Williams’s big shot but 38 points from DeMar DeRozan, who was getting whatever he wanted down the stretch.