We showed you Evan Turner’s game-winner from Friday night’s contest between the Celtics and Sixers. It wouldn’t have been the deciding basket, though, had Rondo been more decisive on the game’s final possession.
Boston had a final chance, inbounding the ball on their end of the floor trailing by one with 2.7 seconds remaining. It goes to Kevin Garnett with his back to the basket in isolation at the elbow, but Rondo makes a break for it, so Garnett dumps it off to his teammate instead of turning and taking the shot himself.
Rondo hesitated, then ended up slipping while trying to make up his mind, which ultimately caused the shot to fall short. Afterward, he regretted his decision, saying he should have continued to the basket instead.
From A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com:
“I should have taken the lay-up,” Rondo said. “But I tried to make a plant and just slipped.”
Said Garnett: “I thought he had the lay-up. It was just unfortunate. I was indecisive. I should have been more aggressive in that situation.”
After the game, C’s coach Doc Rivers said that Garnett was the player the Celtics wanted to take that final shot.
“But he saw Rondo cutting,” Rivers said. “I didn’t see it yet, so I don’t really know what happened because it looked like Kevin had the shot. We had him deep, right where we wanted him.”
You can’t blame Garnett for being unselfish here, and if Rondo had kept going to the basket, he may very well have had time to convert a game-winner of his own, or gotten fouled at the very least.
But Rivers called that final play for Garnett for a reason. He’s virtually automatic from 15-17 feet out, even fading over a defender, and even with the game hanging in the balance.
It’s worth wondering if Rondo’s questionable jumper — which has improved greatly — still makes him take pause in crucial situations. Either way, expect Rivers to make it clear to Garnett that next time he gets the opportunity, he needs to just take the shot.