NBA Playoffs Celtics-Heat Game 3: Seriously? You Didn’t See This Coming?

“Well, they have so many late game situations, I mean c’mon. If you go through their edit, there’s no pattern. They have so many proven 25-point game scorers on their roster that they just go with usually who the hot hand is. We anticipated it would be a Pierce-Garnett pick-and-roll. That’s what we thought it would be.” – Erik Spoelstra after the Heat’s Game Three loss on a Paul Pierce game-winning jumper.

I don’t want to pretend to know more about the game of Erik Spoelstra. I certainly don’t have half of the knowledge that he possesses. He’s worked his way up the ranks of the NBA coaching profession. I’ve spent one year as the assistant coach of a junior varsity boys high school basketball team (although we did win league for the first time in a long time). But I can’t believe his post-game comments about Pierce’s shot to bury the Heat into a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 deficit.

Here’s the final shot:

I find it very hard to believe the Miami Heat didn’t think this was coming. It was the only play that could have been called for the Celtics to win this game. It’s kind of the same play they always run at the end of games. If they’re behind and need a big three, they’ll run the inbounds play to Pierce or KG and have Ray Allen find some open space for a three-point jumper. But when they’re down one or tied with not much time remaining then they’re going to give the ball to Paul Pierce and get the hell out of the way.

How did Spoelstra not know this but everybody watching the game did?

You just knew he was getting that shot. He ALWAYS gets that shot. He loves the elbow. He lives at the elbow. He’s built a Hall of Fame career at that elbow. He’s going to find a way to get into that area and get a shot off. As the head coach of the Miami Heat, you HAVE to know this. Or as one of the assistant coaches, you HAVE to know this.

When Spoelstra goes into that huddle and starts telling his guys to watch out for the pick-and-roll, that’s when you interject and claim that you’d wager any body part that Pierce is getting the ball for the classic hero shot at the end of a game. All of the stars do it. Pierce does it. You HAVE to know this!

Just looking at the YouTube for less than five minutes, I found all of these buzzer-beaters by Pierce in which he’s just getting the ball and creating a jumper.

That was less than FIVE minutes on YouTube. There’s no way you couldn’t have known that Paul Pierce was getting the ball in an isolation set near the top of the key.

I think it’s time for the Miami Heat databank to update the Celtics’ “edit.” Trying getting some data from post-1998.

Seth Carstens