Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics have been the engineers of the quite a few prolific comebacks and finishes in the Big Three era. Yet in the final minute against Memphis on Wednesday night, the Celtics looked more like a lottery team than a title contender.
Pierce, who finished with 22 points on 6-of-10 shooting, missed the game-tying three as time expired and the Grizzlies topped the Celtics, 90-87, at TD Garden.
With 52 seconds remaining, Glen Davis (12 points, five rebounds) made an 18-foot jumper to pull Boston (50-20) within one, 88-87. Nearly thirty seconds later, Zach Randolph (13 points, eight rebounds) missed a 15-foot jumper, and Rajon Rondo (six points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists) grabbed the rebound.
Rondo brought the ball up the floor and found his way into the paint, but put up an awkward floater that missed with 19 seconds left. Rondo was forced to foul Mike Conley (nine points, five assists), who made both free throws to put the Grizzlies (40-32) up 90-87.
Presented with a chance to tie the game, the Celtics inbounded the ball and found Davis, who attempted a 24-foot three and missed, and Marc Gasol (11 points, 11 rebounds) grabbed the rebound with four seconds left.
Fortunately, Gasol missed both and Rondo grabbed the rebound after the second missed free throw and called timeout with four ticks left. Given yet another shot at tying the game, Boston inbounded the ball to Pierce who waited a few seconds before putting up an awkward three, which bounced off the front rim as the clock hit triple zeros.