2018 NBA Playoffs

Brad Stevens offers exclusive insight into decision to pass on ATO play down stretch vs. Sixers

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(Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Brad Stevens had been a maestro with late-game timeouts against the Philadelphia 76ers all series long in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. However, in one of the biggest moments of the Celtics’ Game 5 win over the Sixers on Wednesday night, the head coach opted against a stoppage, despite having two timeouts left in a tie game with over 30 seconds remaining.

The Celtics had just forced a turnover against Dario Saric in the post, which produced a chance in transition for Boston. The Sixers managed to recover, however, matching up as Stevens elected to let his guys play with the game on the line.

A pick-and-roll was the play call with Al Horford slipping the screen and popping on the perimeter. The Sixers responded with the double team and some quick ball movement allowed Marcus Smart to find a cutting Jayson Tatum for an easy layup in the paint.

What prompted Stevens to go away from the ATO in that big spot? BostonSportsJournal.com caught up with the head coach after the win for additional insight into his crucial decision.