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BOSTON (CBS) – The Boston Celtics had a chance to take on from the San Antonio Spurs Wednesday night with a last second attempt by Paul Pierce, but his shot hit the rim as time expired, and the Spurs walked away with a 87-86 win.
After the game, Pierce said he would not second-guess his choice.
“I was trying to make the shot,” the Celtics captain said. “I got the switch on the big man, got to a good place – I just missed the shot.”
Pierce ended up with Tim Duncan guarding him, but still said he stood by his choice to take a jumper with time expiring rather than drive to the basket and try for a foul.
“This type of stuff is not really pre-scripted; you don’t have an idea of what’s going to happen in those type of situations,” said Pierce. “You get in those pressure situations and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t, but the thing is I’m not going to second-guess my decision. I thought I got a great shot, created some space right there at the free throw line. It’s just some days they fall, some days they don’t.”
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With a foul to give, head coach Doc Rivers said after the game he expected the Spurs to use it. But they did not, and the only thing he would change with Pierce’s attempt was the timing.
“We actually said that they probably would [foul] and we were trying to get Duncan on a Paul matchup, because we thought we had the speed advantage,” said Rivers. “We wanted him to go a little quicker because I thought he could’ve beat [Duncan] off the dribble and he would’ve reached the foul line, and you know Paul has a knack of getting the ball up. But his step-back is what he wants. I just thought we waited a little too late in the clock.”
Pierce took the shot with time expiring, although they inbounded the ball with 7.9 seconds remaining. Rivers would have liked a shot earlier, giving the Celtics a chance at the offensive board, although the Celtics only grabbed four of those over the course of the evening.
Still, with Avery Bradley streaking to the basket on the final play – as he was doing for most of the night – the Celtics have to wonder what could have been if Pierce had taken the shot just a few seconds earlier.