Doc Rivers is a terrific coach--one of the best in the league. I'm glad that he's on "our" side and not "theirs." Having said this--there is a recurrent problem that has manifested for years on this team--one that is unique to the Celtics--and one that seems to be the norm when taking a last shot.
Let's look at the frequent folly first:
1) Teams wait far too long to take the expected final shot. In tonight's Celtics-Lakers game Boston had 2 chances--one in regulation and one in overtime--to win the game. Both times they ran a play with Pierce having the ball in his hands (the first time, as Steve Kerr pointed out in the replay, KG's back pick had freed up Ray Allen and Pierce missed him). On both plays--and this is certainly not exclusive to the Celtics--he held the ball WAY too long. By doing so--the pressure to "go" is pushed with dwindling time. There isn't a chance for any put back/tip off a miss. The downside to "going earlier" might be allowing the opponent a chance to match your score--but, given the mentioned advantages, I'd take my chances. Further, if a team is under the fouls to give limit, the expected "given foul" with the time winding down results in taking the ball out-of-bounds with even less time on the clock (I was surprised LA didn't do this tonight in overtime WITH the foul to give).. I'd love to see "my" team "go" earlier--they never do and I don't know why.
Now, the issue with Coach Rivers and the Celtics:
2) We know what's coming. Tonight it seemed in regulation that the Celtics were trying to run a play for Allen--but, we've seen this story before--the ball is in Perice's hands in a 1-on-1 situation allowing him to make the play. Paul Pierce is a great player and a great scorer and maybe as such as earned the right to have the ball in his hands. But, again--we've seen this before--the hesitation dribble, pull back/fade away that glances off the rim. It's so isolated and often involves the other 4 guys on the floor watching the play and then crashing the boards but, of course, "going" so late doesn't leave time for a tip/put back anyway.. Why don't the Celtics really RUN something? I imagine that the Lakers huddle before both final plays said something like "Pierce is going to have the ball. He's going to hold it too long. Force him to pull up--don't let him in the lane."
I didn't even need to watch the two final possessions tonight--the one in regulation and the one in overtime. I've seen this story before and frustratingly it always seems to end in a similar way.