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A beautiful ATO wasted in loss to Bucks

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The final play in Milwaukee was a microcosm of a frustrating first game back from the All Star break.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Games are made up of dozens and dozens of plays. Most of last night’s loss in Milwaukee were indicative of the rust of having a week off during the All Star break. Kyrie Irving turned it up late, but shot an abysmal 9-for-27 from the field. Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier hit just one of their nine attempts from behind the arc. The Celtics’ top-10 offense stalled with a 96.0 OffRtg.

Despite all that, Boston had 3.5 seconds and a timeout to win the game and Brad Stevens drew up a perfect ATO. The first action closest to the inbound pass from Marcus Smart is Jayson Tatum coming of an Al Horford screen and immediately posting up the smaller Malcolm Brogdon.

He’s not really an option on the play, but he’s a potential last resort. Note how far Tatum is from the basket. He’s keeping Brogdon honest and more importantly, away from the rim.

The second action is the controversial Irving pick on Khris Middleton for Marcus Morris. The Last 2 Minutes report tomorrow will most likely call that a hold on Middleton which prevented a lob for Morris and an easy game winner.

When asked about the final play, Irving said, “I don’t know if he got fouled or not. I don’t know what happened.” When pressed for an answer, Kyrie replied, “no, I love my money.”

Regardless of whether or not it was a missed call, it was a beautifully drawn up play from Stevens. One of the underappreciated elements of his whiteboard wizardy is his attention to sight lines. It’s not just about where the bodies are, but where their eyes are looking.

With Morris cutting back door, Kyrie looking for a screen, and Horford above the break, it puts Giannis Antetokounmpo guarding three players at once with his back turned away from the ball. Had Middleton not held Morris, Antetokounmpo would not have even seen the ball coming to Morris. Here’s Smart on the final play:

After the buzzer, there was some Twitter scuttlebutt about whether or not Irving should have hit the wide open Horford on the wing with Giannis collapsing. I’ll let fellow CelticsBlogger, Daniel Poarch, take that one:

Oh, and I’ll bet that L2M will also call Eric Bledsoe with the over-the-back shooting foul on Kyrie’s final attempt, but whatever. Tough call, tough game. On to Chicago tomorrow night.