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James' Three-pointer, Lack of Execution Doom Celtics

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Gotta hand it to him, he came up big.
Gotta hand it to him, he came up big.

Perhaps the most frustrating part about Game 4's loss was the fact that the Celtics had so many chances to win.

They got off to the start they wanted, and led after each of the first three quarters.

It was a combination of sloppiness and lack of execution that eventually led to overtime and a Celtics loss.

What also led to the loss was LeBron James' uber clutch three-pointer with 2:00 left in the game to tie it at 84.

Down three points to the Heat, Delonte West drained a three-pointer that tied things up at 81. That ignited the crowd and forced Miami to take a timeout.

The Heat didn't score on their possession out of the timeout, which led to a Ray Allen three-pointer roughly thirty seconds after West's. This put the C's up three points and it looked like they were going to pull it off.

Then LeBron James took matters into his own hands. With the ball in the corner, right in front of the Celtics bench, Paul Pierce gave him just enough space to shoot it -- and he did.


"That play right there was a back-breaker," Ray Allen said. "Just thinking about how I just hit a three, and we come down, he's got the ball, and everyone is in good position. Paul was up on him, he didn't want him to drive by him, if I have to think about it, which I probably will all night, I probably would have been more vocal to get up on him, make him drive, because everyone's behind you in help position. Don't let him shoot it. But he made a tough shot, Paul was in his face, he made a tough shot."


Allen was the closest to Pierce, and could have brought the double-team that would free up Mario Chalmers, but Allen didn't want to over-commit, and instead just have James feel his presence.

His presence wasn't enough, and James made them all pay.

"I looked it as probably one of the biggest games of my career coming into the game knowing what was at stake," James said.

The Last Play

Even with the killer three-pointer that James hit, the Celtics still could have won it in regulation.

A botched play out of the timeout prevented that from happening.

"It's a surprise, but it happens, Rajon Rondo said. "A lot of talking during the huddle and there wasn't enough listening I believe."

"Yeah, we didn't execute the play," Doc Rivers said. "I'll just leave it at that. Ended up leaving Paul (Pierce) on the island. It's a play we've run several times, and we just didn't execute it. Was supposed to be a pick and roll with a flare and none of it happened, which was unusual for us.  But it happened."

Kevin Garnett blamed "timing" for the mess up, but it really stemmed from Ray Allen receiving the inbounds instead of the intended target, Paul Pierce.

Once Allen got the ball, he had to wait to give it to Pierce. When that happened, Allen and Garnett got tangled up on the supposed-to-be pick that never actually came for Pierce.

"I actually messed up when he went and got the ball," Garnett said. "Miscommunication. Paul went with a couple seconds left on the clock and felt like he had to be aggressive in that situation. But plays are all timing. If you don't come off at a certain time, clock is going, and Paul felt like he had to go. That's what it was."

That last play will obviously be the one most talked about, but lack of execution is something that was pretty consistent throughout the fourth quarter. The offense was stagnant, and at times, nonexistent. Unfortunately for the Celtics, it didn't get any better in the overtime.

"The reason why we did lose was execution down the stretch," Rondo said. "For us as a team with the talent that we have to score only 13 points in the [fourth] quarter is something that we can't let [happen] in the playoffs. If they know every play we are running we still should be able to execute and gets some points on the board."