Anna Horford Among Celtics Fans Puzzled By Game 4 Final Possession

Why did Boston waste so much time on its final possession?


May 8, 2023

The final minute of Game 4 between the Celtics and 76ers at Wells Fargo Arena featured a pair of questionable decisions by Boston and it ultimately propelled Philadelphia to a series-tying victory on Sunday.

One of those decisions came on the defensive end when Jaylen Brown opted to double-team Joel Embiid in the paint and leave James Harden all alone in the near corner, despite the fact the Celtics held a two-point lead at the time. Embiid kicked it out to Harden for a corner 3-pointer with 19 seconds left that proved the game-winning basket in the 76ers’ 116-115 overtime win.

Another mind-boggling decision came on Boston’s ensuing offensive possession that started with 18.2 seconds left. The C’s walked the ball up the floor and took nearly 14 seconds off the clock before Jayson Tatum started his drive to the hoop. Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla told reporters after the game the offense should have played with more pace at that moment, which is quite the understatement given the play resulted in a Marcus Smart 3-pointer after the buzzer. Boston, despite having the ball with 18 seconds left in overtime, didn’t even get a shot off. The Green acted like the game was tied as opposed to facing a deficit.

Green Teamers everywhere likely were screaming at their television sets after the underwhelming finish. It seems Anna Horford, the sister of Celtics big man Al Horford and a prominent 76ers hater, was in lockstep with her reaction.

“No reason we should’ve held the ball that long,” Anna Horford tweeted Sunday.

Brown took ownership for what he called a “bad read” on Philadelphia’s game-winning possession. Mazzulla and others defended the decision not to take a timeout when Boston had the ball in the final seconds.

The Celtics now head back to Boston with a pivotal Game 5 scheduled at TD Garden on Tuesday. The Celtics have not lost back-to-back games this postseason and were successful in similar spots last postseason. However, their late-game decisions on Sunday will put even more pressure on them in front of their home fans.

Thumbnail photo via Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports Images
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