Ray Allen hit the nail on the head when discussing what went wrong in last night’s loss.
“We have such great talent on this team, such great individual talent on both ends of the floor that … each guy feels like they can make the shot to win the game for us,” said Ray Allen. “Sometimes that’s been at our team’s detriment. So sometimes pulling back for all of us, like you come off, you have the ball, just swing it. Sometimes I might have a shot, but Kevin [Garnett] might have an easier one. Just plays like that. The unselfishness out there on the floor. When we’re great, that’s what we do. I think there were spurts tonight where we weren’t great. We were just average.”
If you’ve been watching these playoffs, you definitely didn’t recognize last night’s Celtics. I don’t know why, but the C’s decided to turn last night’s crunch-time into an “iso” session. They haven’t done that in a long, long time.
In fact, the only way I remembered the Paul Pierce I saw at the end of last night was because I watched the Celtics in 2006. Really, it’s been that long since Pierce has gone into “hero” mode like he did last night. The last play of regulation was embarrassing: Pierce dribbled around aimlessly outside the top of the key, triple-teamed and surrounded on all sides, all while Rajon Rondo stood wide open on the wing. Literally, nobody was defending Rondo. With the clock winding down, all Paul “Hero” Pierce could do was dribble — he didn’t even get a shot off.
Honestly, it’s been years since we’ve seen that side of Pierce. He’s been unselfish since the Big Three era began, but last night reverted to his young self at the worst possible time. It’s a shame, too, because Pierce was more aggressive last night than he has been maybe all season long. And that dunk he had late in the fourth was sick. He just ruined all his great work by running around like a chicken with his head cut off down the stretch (not to mention front-rimming every shot he took).
But last night was the exception to the rule, not the rule. The next time the Celtics get a chance to close out a tight game, I fully expect them to be unselfish and take advantage of opportunities.