BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Celtics nearly stole a game they had no business winning Tuesday night, until Avery Bradley made a big boo boo.
After clawing their way back from a 19-point fourth quarter deficit in Milwaukee, the Celtics tied things up 111-111 with just a second left thanks to a pair of Kelly Olynyk free throws. At that point, overtime seemed like a sure thing.READ MORE: 'DCR Wants To Turn This Into A Lawn': Group Fights Plan To Relocate Herter Community Garden
But Bradley got a little too anxious on the ensuing Bucks inbound and fouled Khris Middleton with a quick swipe of the ball, sending him to the line for a pair of game-winning free throws (Middleton hit the first and missed the second). The C’s guard went from being the hero in Friday night’s dramatic win over the Cavaliers, hitting a three at the buzzer to steal that win, to a bit of a goat on Tuesday.
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While it’s a play that no doubt left Brad Stevens a little baffled as to why Bradley, known as a pretty solid defender, would commit such an error, he chalked it up to the guard’s aggressive nature on that end of the floor.
“It’s just one of those instinctual things,” Stevens said, confident Bradley will move on quickly from Tuesday night’s blunder. “He’s a tough-minded kid. He’ll be all right.”READ MORE: Supply Chain Issues: 'There Really Are Problems Everywhere,' Even For Small Companies
“I think I was just a little too aggressive. The ref made a great call,” said Bradley. “Me personally, I don’t think it was that one play that determined the game. I was just trying to make a good defensive play, trying to be aggressive. Trying to make it hard on them. Unfortunately, a foul was called. I can’t control that. All I can control is my effort.”
Before you accuse Bradley of channeling his inner Cam Newton, he’s not completely wrong. Though his foul cost Boston its shot at another five minutes of basketball, it wasn’t the main reason the team’s four-game win streak came to an end. The Celtics surrendered 40 points in the third quarter, forcing the team to rely on that fourth quarter surge just to get back into the contest. They could have used some of that overly aggressive defense in that frame, as the Bucks doubled them up 40-20. Boston also had no answer for Greg Monroe for most of the night, who scored 12 of his 29 points in the third quarter. They played much better defense on the Milwaukee big man in the game’s final frame, holding him scoreless until he hit a hook shot from a few feet out to give Milwaukee a 111-109 lead with a second left, but the damage done by Monroe was too much to overcome.
A better all-around effort by the Celtics in the third, especially on Monroe, and we may be writing different stories today. Instead, the focus is on Bradley’s over-aggressive defense — and rightfully so. The foul certainly stings, because the Celtics would have had all the momentum heading into overtime, but they once again showed they’re a team that just won’t quit. Boston looked poised to steal another win for the second time in five nights, until that opportunity disappeared due to a needless steal attempt by Bradley.
The C’s lost their chance to go 10 games over .500 for the first time since April 2012, when Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were still members of the organization. But much like the case when the Celtics win, Bradley’s teammates were quick to say Tuesday night was a “team loss,” and when the C’s tip off against the Clippers on Wednesday night, the foul will be an afterthought for them and their “in the moment” approach.MORE NEWS: 'I Lost My Son To The Streets': Father Brings Busload Of Donations To Mass And Cass
Let’s just hope next time he’s in that situation, Bradley reels in his instincts a tad.