Celtics

Breaking down the final Kyrie-less play of an ugly loss to the Magic

(Harry Aaron/Getty Images)

The Celtics lost another game in ugly fashion on Saturday night, blowing a double-digit lead to the Orlando Magic en route to a 105-103 defeat. While the issues factoring into the defeat were plentiful (allowing 64 second-half points, horrendous second unit play), a lot of the microscope will go on the final play of the game, a missed fadeaway baseline jumper by Jayson Tatum off of a Brad Stevens ATO.

While this is very far down the list of reasons the Celtics lost the game, it did produce some tension in the aftermath after Kyrie Irving had some words for the inbounder, Gordon Hayward, that the camera picked up on the court after Tatum missed the tough jumper.

While we’ll delve into the other issues surrounding this game in the coming days, the final play sequence deserves a second look now in the wake of tough defeat. Was Irving right to harp his frustrations to Hayward? Did Hayward make an acceptable read? Let’s look at what went wrong (if anything) on that final sequence beyond the final shot not going in.

Setup: Celtics trail 103-101. No timeouts left. Hayward inbounding. Morris, Tatum, Irving, Horford in the game. During the end of the timeout, Irving voices what appears to be frustration with Stevens. Hayward has already left the huddle at this point to go inbound the ball.

The Play:

Brad Stevens: “We had a couple of options on it. One of them is Tatum is curling off that screen and being available for that shot. Kyrie is another one coming from the top, which we’ve seen before. I mean, hey, if you are in that position, you are probably going to be lucky to get a good look at the rim. Tatum got a good look, he’s a really good player, and we have believed strongly in him for a long time. It just didn’t go down.”

What is supposed to happen if Irving gets the ball?

A clip from a couple years ago shows that Brad Stevens has gone to this set before.