The members of the Boston Celtics who managed to escape from the hospital ward pulled off a thrilling win on Wednesday. Somehow, someway, the C’s keep on chugging along.
Wow. Just wow. When diehard Boston Celtics fans go into a game expecting a loss, you know the chances of a win are grim.
Yet, without Al Horford, Kyrie Irving, Marcus Morris, Marcus Smart, Gordon Hayward, Daniel Theis and the rest of the kitchen sink, Boston went into Utah and came away with a win.
Last night wasn’t the first time the Celtics were at a major disadvantage this season.
In fact, it wasn’t the first time in a week. Boston beat the streaking Blazers after another fourth quarter comeback last Friday. On their final west coast road trip of the season, the Celtics went an improbable 4-0. Battling injury after injury, this might be the most impressive stretch of basketball Brad Stevens has ever coached.
With Shane Larkin getting crunch time minutes (deservedly so, he was incredible), and Abdel Nader/Guerschon Yabusele getting 29 combined minutes, the Celtics beat one of the league’s hottest teams on the road. Semi Ojeleye was making plays in the fourth quarter. Greg Monroe was PLAYING DEFENSE. Brad Stevens could make a team of mannequins run an effective 2-3 zone.
Last night’s game was incredible. Here is the two minute stretch that gave Boston their fourth straight win.
Two minutes to remember
As the fourth quarter progressed, the Celtics were taking half a step forward but one step back. They would cut the lead to three, then fall back down by 5 or 6. With the score 94-88 after a Jae Crowder layup, I was ready to chock this one up as a moral victory. What more could you expect in a game between the fully healthy, playoff hungry Jazz against the Celtics, who’s medical report is the running equivalent of a one-legged potato sack race.
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Yet, the desire to win never left the Celtics. They could have been thinking like me, half-asleep at 11:45 ET after a week of West Coast games, willing to drop just one game.
Greg Monroe hit an improbable layup, then came up with an offensive rebound after a great play by Shane Larkin. He made both free throws, and all of a sudden the lead was two with 1:33 left. Donovan Mitchell lost the ball on the next possession leading to a vicious Jayson Tatum throwdown. Tie game, 1:09 remaining.
A few more missed shots by both teams ended up putting the ball in Brad Stevens’ court with 14 seconds left. A miss would mean a tired Celtics team trying to force themselves through overtime. A make would send the team home happy after a long, long week on the road.
First Shane Larkin drove, but he was forced to kick it out to Semi Ojeleye. For a split second, Ojeleye considered taking the shot. But then he remembered he was the worse member of the team with a flat top. He quickly remembered Jaylen Brown was more fit for this moment and passed the ball off.
With Rudy Gobert on him, Brown could not go straight up. He had to take a significant step back over the Frenchman with an 8-foot wingspan for a game-winning three.
In just his second game back from a head injury, the second year budding star out of Cal nailed a three.
Boston Celtics win, good night, and sweet dreams.