Lost amidst another bad loss to a mediocre team was Doc Rivers’ (Tom Thibodeau’s?) late-game coaching decision to have his two biggest men defend the inbounds passer. With the Celtics down two points and only 4.4 seconds remaining, Doc had Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnett harass the inbounds passer on two successive plays.
The first play, C.J. Watson drew the unfortunate task of passing the ball inbounds, and couldn’t even see over Boston’s two monsters, much less pass the ball over them. Four seconds later, he called timeout and Don Nelson had to switch inbounders to give the 6’10″ Vlad Radmanovic a chance. Even Vlad had troubles throwing the ball in, and had to loft a super-dangerous pass right in front of his own basket that, unfortunately for the Celtics, was corralled by Monta Ellis to end the game.
For those of you who didn’t see the game, here’s what the defense looked like:
Be sure to applaud my serious photo-shopping skills. Look at that high-tech and well-rounded circle.
Seriously, though, has anyone ever seen that strategy employed before? I hadn’t, at least not that I can remember. (And it’s tough not to remember two seven-footers flailing their arms and doing jumping jacks in a strategy you’ve never seen before.)
It seems like a great move, as long as you have two long seven-footers to execute it. Who knows? Maybe Doc will start a trend and, before you know it, every team will have their seven-footers jumping all over the place on late-game inbounds plays.
It was almost enough to save the Celtics last night.