In every sport a team needs a closer. Baseball even has a position called closer, to do just that. Close a game. The Boston Celtics, in their last two losses, have been lacking a closer.
In the past Celtic fans were used to watching Paul Pierce do this:
Then, last year the torch was passed to Jeff Green in certain situations. Green also hit that miraculous game-winner against the Miami Heat in November.
The last two games the Celtics have had the ball with 10 seconds left on the clock, they have only generated a total of one shot attempt. Rajon Rondo took a hurried three-pointer as time ran down against the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night. It's not a shot he's likely to make often, but with no time outs and only 3 seconds left, it was the shot he had to take.
On Sunday, while many were lamenting the New England Patriots' loss to the Denver Broncos, the Celtics found themselves in another close game against lottery competition. This time, the Celtics managed to set up a play. Unfortunately, Avery Bradley mishandled a pass from Jeff Green in the corner. Instead of hoisting up a shot, he passed the ball away as the buzzer signaled the end of the game.
This was, for all intents and purposes, what people predicted would happen to this team, with or without Rajon Rondo on the floor. Rondo is not the type of player who is a threat to make a bunch of last second shots. It's not who he is. He will need to prove himself as a jump shooter before guys start defending him above the free throw line.
The fact that the Magic and Lakers collected one more win each, while the Celtics collected two hard fought losses, will make many happy. However, as Rondo gets healthy and the crunch-time line-up is reshuffled to fit his skills it will become more apparent that this team needs a closer. The Paul Pierce's elbow jumper may have been predictable, but it was also a dependable method for at least getting off a shot at the end of games.
Here's hoping it not a shot fans in the TDGarden have to witness on Sunday evening when Kevin Garnett and Pierce return home.
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