Had it not been for a heads-up choice by Marcus Smart on Sunday night, the Celtics’ season might be over.
Trailing by one with three seconds left in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals, Boston had one final possession to keep its NBA championship dreams alive. An inbound pass went to Smart, who immediately hoisted a 3-point attempt at Kaseya Center. Although the long-distance shot rimmed out, Smart’s quick release allotted time for a second-chance opportunity, and Derrick White made the most of it with a game-winning put-back.
“I just wanted to give our team and myself enough time to be able to give us a chance to hopefully get a second chance if we missed. Learned that from the Philly game, the Philly series,” Smart told reporters, per a video shared by ESPN. “We didn’t get a shot off. They did a good job of taking away JT (Jayson Tatum) and Derrick and me and everybody else did a good job of reacting and going to make a play.”
Learning from mistakes and not repeating them is a staple of a championship team in any sport. Although the Celtics haven’t been perfect in that department in these playoffs, they certainly have done a good job of making the proper adjustments after encountering shortcomings and obstacles.
Boston will try to tie all of those teaching moments together Monday night when it battles Miami for a spot in the Finals.