After holding the Celtics to just 3 points over an 8+ minute stretch of the 4th quarter yesterday, the Clippers had cut a onetime 19 point lead all the way down to two, 103-101. They had the ball and a chance to tie the game with 42 seconds left. An offensive foul with 26 seconds to go gave possession back to Boston. Amazingly, that’s when LA decided they didn’t want to win.
This contest will be remembered for Paul Pierce’s “clutch” three pointer to ice the game with 2.5 seconds left. I’m not sure how “clutch” it really was though, because it didn’t actually matter if it went in.
For some incomprehensible reason the Clippers opted not to foul, and allowed the Celtics to run out the 24 second clock, despite the fact that there were just 26 seconds remaining. Even if Pierce’s shot had missed, the final two seconds would have all but run out during the rebound. Here’s what Doc Rivers said about it during his postgame interview:
“Honestly when the ball was in the air I was just thinking ‘hit the rim,’ you know and fly, go somewhere. That’s what I was hoping for.”
I watched in shock from my seat in the Garden as this scenario unfolded. With 10 seconds left it was clear LA wasn’t going to foul, and I knew the game was already over. In the back of my mind I was hoping Pierce might take some sort of ridiculous high arching shot towards the rafters; purposely throw up something that had no chance of connecting, but would still be in the air as the final buzzer sounded.
Pierce was pretty baffled by the Clipper’s “strategy” as well, here’s a clip of his comments immediately following the game.
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