It’s not often that a jump ball decides an NBA game, but it happened Friday night.
The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers battled it out to the final buzzer at TD Garden in front of a charged crowd. Boston did everything it needed at the defensive end of the court over the final 58 seconds of the game. Problem is, they never got the shot they needed at the other end to tie or win the game.
Los Angeles took possession of the ball with a 105-104 lead with 58.3 seconds remaining in the game. Boston elected to ‘D’ it up at the other end, and that decision worked like a charm.
Thanks to swarming defense all over the court, the Lakers found no holes in Boston’s defense. The Lakers didn’t even get the ball inside the 3-point line for a legit look at the basket as their shot clock ticked down to zero. They were whistled for a shot-clock violation with 34.3 seconds left on the clock.
The Celtics called for a timeout but were unable to cash in on their ensuing possession. Avery Bradley missed a jump shot and the Lakers grabbed the board.
This is when things got very interesting. With 24.6 seconds left on the clock and L.A. holding a one-point lead, Boston elected not to foul. Instead, Brad Stevens instructed his players to try to force a turnover. The Celtics swarmed Wesley Johnson on the inbound pass and Gerald Wallace wound up forcing a jump ball.
Perfect. Wallace versus Johnson.
As the jump ball occurred live, the ball was tipped out of bounds in front of Boston’s bench. The referees whistled the ball out of bounds off of the Celtics. Problem is, they weren’t sure if their call was correct.
The referees huddled up and decided to review the play on television. Upon review, they seemingly could not decide who the ball was off, and as a result they whistled for another jump ball.
The players came back onto the court and went through the motions yet again at the Lakers’ offensive end of the court. Johnson won the tip, Boston fouled Ryan Kelly, and the rookie nailed two free throws.
Those points by Kelly accounted for the final points of the game. Rajon Rondo, in his first game back from ACL surgery in February, missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds that allowed Los Angeles to sneak out with a 107-104 win.
Key Box Score Line
Two Kelly’s had great games Friday night. Ryan Kelly tallied 20 points for the winning Lakers, but it was Kelly Olynyk who shined the brightest.
Olynyk tossed in a career performance in his first game alongside Rajon Rondo. The 7-footer poured in a game-high 25 points on 11-of-17 shooting from the field.
The scoring column wasn’t the only spot where Olynyk racked up a career-high number. He also dished out a career-high seven assists while committing just one turnover. To cap it all off, Olynyk chipped in five boards and two steals during his 33 minutes of action.
Box Score Nuggets
- Los Angeles shot 11-of-15 from 3-point range in the second half.
- Phil Pressey dished out nine assists to lead the Celtics.
- This was the second consecutive game in which Pressey dished out at least nine assists while not committing a turnover.
- Boston had six players score in double-figures, led by Kelly Olynyk's career-high 25 points.
- Kendall Marshall dished out a game-high 14 assists and also pitched in 19 points.
- Boston outscored Los Angeles 54-38 in the paint.
- The Celtics totaled 34 assists while committing just eight turnovers.
- Jeff Green narrowly missed a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds.
- Ryan Kelly scored 20 points off the bench for the Lakers.
- Boston grabbed 12 steals to L.A.'s three.
- Gerald Wallace had his best game in months, totaling 14 points, four rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks.
- Two Lakers (Pau Gasol and Wesley Johnson) tallied double-doubles, while no Celtics reached that feat.
- Gasol led the Lakers with 24 points and 13 rebounds.
Quote of the Night
.I don't think we've ever lost a game where a team that I've coached has had 24 assists and seven turnovers. You shouldn't lose those nights. Brad Stevens on how improbable this loss wasMore quotes >>