When we peel everything back from Tuesday’s game between the Celtics and Nets, what it really came down to was that Jason Kidd’s ATO worked, and Brad Stevens’ ATO did not.
Each first-year NBA coach had an opportunity to draw up a critical play in the final 20 seconds of Tuesday’s matchup. These plays are aptly called ATOs, short for after-timeouts.
The score was tied up at 80-80 when Kidd called for a timeout with 15.7 seconds remaining. His players came back onto the court shortly thereafter and executed Kidd’s play to perfection.
Jorge Gutierrez took the inbound pass and dribbled the clock down to less than 10 seconds. While he dribbled, his teammates set up the rest of the play off of the ball.
Brooklyn’s big men set a screen near the right wing and Chris Johnson curled off of that screen without a defender. Gutierrez hit him with a pass and Johnson swooped through the lane to attempt a left-handed layup from the left block. He didn’t make the shot, but he was fouled by Brandon Bass with 7.0 seconds remaining. Johnson, who scored seven points in the game, hit both free throws to put Brooklyn on top 82-80.
Stevens then called for his timeout and drew up a play of his own. To his credit, the play worked to perfection, too - minus the two points.
Gerald Wallace took the ball out of bounds near midcourt as his teammates set up the play. Courtney Lee, who had just hit consecutive 3-pointers to tie the game up at 80-80, came off of a double-screen and floated to the far corner of the court. Wallace realized that Lee had lost his defender and hit the guard with a pass. Lee caught the ball, took a dribble toward the basket and pulled up for a jumper between two defenders. Unfortunately for the C’s, the shot rimmed out and Brooklyn grabbed the loose ball.
The Celtics probably would have fouled Gary Forbes, who pulled in the rebound with 2.8 seconds left on the clock, had this been a regular season contest. However, seeing as this is the preseason, they allowed Brooklyn to run out the clock and take home the 82-80 victory.
Each team’s coach drew up a play in crunch time that got their team a quality look at the basket. The difference was that Brooklyn was able to put the ball through the hoop, while Boston was not.
Key Box Score Line
Kris Humphries played the most minutes (28) he has all preseason long during Tuesday night’s game in Brooklyn. He used that time to remind the Nets of what they no longer have.
Humphries approached a double-double during his first game against the Nets since being traded from Brooklyn to Boston in July. He finished with 12 points, which trailed only Courtney Lee’s 14 for Boston. He made four of his six shots from the field and all four of his free throw attempts.
The offense was great, but Humphries also contributed at the other end of the floor. He grabbed eight rebounds, which trailed only Avery Bradley’s nine for the C’s, and five of them were at the defensive end of the court. The big man also blocked a team-high two shots while he was on the floor.
Box Score Nuggets
- Only one player in the game scored more than 14 points, and that was Brook Lopez (20 points).
- The teams shot nearly identical percentages from the field: 35.6 percent for Boston and 35.5 percent for Brooklyn.
- Paul Pierce grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.
- Courtney Lee led the Celtics with 14 points.
- The teams combined to shoot 8-of-38 from downtown (5-of-17 for Boston, 3-of-21 for Brooklyn).
- Kelly Olynyk fouled out of the game.
- Olynyk scored 10 points, grabbed four rebounds and dished out two assists. The Celtics outscored the Nets by 10 points while he was on the floor.
- Three Celtics (Avery Bradley, Brandon Bass, Kris Humphries) grabbed at least eight rebounds for Boston.
- Jared Sullinger led the Celtics in steals with three.
- Brooklyn made less field goals and less 3-pointers than Boston, but made up for that by making 12 more free throws.
- The Celtics (18) doubled up the Nets (nine) in fast break points.
Quote of the Night
It's good to know that you're able to do that, and it's good to know that a guy is going to step up and be able to do that. Brad Stevens on Courtney Lee tying the game at 80-80 with consecutive 3s in the span of 33 seconds