At halftime, it would have seemed like nonsense to believe that Game 4 would come down to a Marcus Morris jump shot.
The Boston Celtics trailed 51-35 at the half to Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday, ultimately falling behind by as many as 20 in the third quarter. But they mounted a ridiculous comeback, which allowed for the game to come down to the final play.
With 5.1 seconds on the clock, Morris got the ball crosscourt about 15 feet from the basket from a Jayson Tatum inbound. After putting the ball on the floor a few times, he shot a fadeaway jumper, which clanked off the iron. The 104-102 loss at BMO Harris Bradley Center resulted in the series coming back to Boston even at two games apiece.
With speculation being that the play was not drawn up for Morris, it turns out that what the forward did wasn’t exactly wrong, it was just Plan B.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens explained after the game that the play originally was for Morris to get the ball, but to kick it out to point guard Terry Rozier for a would-be game-winning 3-pointer off a misdirection. Rozier successfully lost his man, but Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon had a good read on the play and switched to cover Rozier, forcing Morris into taking the shot.
“Yeah that was something that (Rozier) did a great job of, cutting, misdirecting, lost his guy,” Stevens said, via the NBA. “Brogdon jumped out and switched. Morris read it right. Morris got up a really good look, I feel really good about that with five seconds left in the game.
“They do so much switching,” Stevens continued, “And I thought that our guys — the goal of that is to get both guys on the same side, and Brogdon did a good job staying under Al (Horford). But then you always have the option of going 1-on-1 on the other side with nobody there, which is not the worst thing in the world either.”
Here are some other notes from Celtics-Bucks Game 4:
— For the second game in a row, horrid first-half shooting essentially wiped the Celtics’ chances of victory before the second half began.
Through the first 24 minutes, Boston was shooting at a 30-percent clip, and if not for some contributions from Jaylen Brown, it would have been trailing far worse than 51-35. Putting itself in that spot has been its downfall in both losses.
In Friday’s blowout defeat, the Celtics shot 30.8 percent from the field in the first half. While they didn’t improve at all throughout the game — as opposed to Sunday’s 20-point comeback — it gave them quite the uphill battle even if they had begun to shoot better.
— Brown continues his impressive postseason, this time posting a game-high 34 points in the Game 4 loss.
The second-year swingman has tallied at least 20 points in three of the four games, with two such instances being at least 30-point performances. Without a prolific scorer like Kyrie Irving available due to injury, the Celtics have needed someone to step up and be that scorer, and suffice to say Brown mostly has done just that.
— Prior to the game, Marcus Smart gave an encouraging update on the health of his thumb. He is going to be reevaluated in New York on Tuesday, and if given the OK, he will be able to go for a now-necessary Game 6.
Thumbnail photo via Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports Images