The Boston Celtics will want a lot of plays back in the fourth quarter of their Game 5 loss in which they scored just 21 points as the Bucks stormed back from nine down coming into the final period to steal a 110-107 win and take a 3-2 series lead back to Milwaukee.
While there will be plenty of things for Boston to clean up in the film room from their fourth quarter offense, it’s their final two plays that stick out the most, in which Jrue Holiday flat out took the ball from Marcus Smart. The first came on an incredible baseline block after Pat Connaughton forced Smart to catch the ball going back to the baseline but almost gave him an open drive to the hoop down one, with Holiday rotating over and cleanly ripping the ball away as Smart went up.
That’s a play you just tip your cap to an incredible defensive effort, but the final play of the game will be the one that Celtics fans (and the team when they get to the film room tomorrow) will cringe watching back. As Smart catches the ball from Horford after making the inbounds pass, Jayson Tatum starts streaking up the far side of the court with no one covering him after Wesley Matthews got taken out by his own teammate in Bobby Portis and then falls again after getting tripped up by Connaughton. Tatum wave his hand wildly to call for the ball to try what would’ve been a fairly wide open three to tie — Giannis would’ve been late trying to close out from in the paint — and there’s no one Boston would’ve rather had taking that shot, but Smart fumbled his dribble and never got his head up in time to see Tatum and instead ran into the blitz from Holiday.
Jrue comes up with a CLUTCH play on defense pic.twitter.com/DPgpV0HCBU
— NBA TV (@NBATV) May 12, 2022
There’s obviously a ton of variables at play here, but it’s tough to see the guy you want to get that last shot streaking wide open and not be able to get him the ball. Smart’s first dribble got away from him, causing him to put his head down and scramble after it, which opened the door for Holiday to jump in for the steal (or a foul on the floor at worst) and ice the game. Boston would’ve needed to have Tatum make that shot and then still win an overtime period, but that was at least a path to victory and salvaging their melt earlier in the quarter.