Let’s just acknowledge it right now: the overturned block/charge call from the referees in the final minute of Friday night’s victory was a massive error.
When Marcus Smart jumped in front of Kevin Durant and went down, the initial charge call was the correct one. It was (or should have been) yet another example of Smart sacrificing his body in the biggest moments, making winning plays to swing the momentum of the game. Up 7 with 40 seconds to play, this charge call would have been the icing on the cake for Boston.
As much as Smart should be lauded for his physical impact, it was the recognition and headiness of Brad Stevens in the moments prior that helped put Smart in that position. As the Nets broke their huddle after a timeout and lined up in a particular formation, Stevens recognized it and made a substitution on the fly, as well as a tactical change for how to defend the formation.
The result was Smart jumping out onto Kevin Durant and causing what should have been a turnover:
Stevens didn’t necessarily win this game for the Celtics, but he certainly did everything within his power to help seal the victory. In a season where his value has been brought into question, postseason Brad always finds a way to show why he’s so great. The tactical sharpness and ability to foil opponents never ceases to amaze.
I can’t wait to see what else he has up his sleeve for Game 4.