A lot has been said regarding the Boston Celtics’ final play against the Utah Jazz, where Grant Williams opted against a dribble-hand-off with Jayson Tatum in favor of turning the corner and attacking the rim, only to have his shot blocked.
Yet, in a March 19 article by NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg, the Celtics analyst has looked past that fateful possession and instead raised the question of why Derrick White didn’t see minutes down the stretch.
“But White’s fourth-quarter DNP on Saturday night was downright baffling,” Forsberg wrote. “The Celtics were playing without three starters, including Smart, and couldn’t find any time for White? Yes, the Celtics needed size but White is one of the team’s best decision-makers and can often negate the size he gives up with his basketball IQ. He needs to be on the floor more regardless of matchups.”
White has been excellent for Boston this season and has produced every time his number has been called. So, in a game where the Celtics were short-handed and were struggling to control the game, White’s presence could have been a legitimate difference-maker down the stretch.
Grant Williams Issues Statement After Final Shot
When speaking to the media following Boston’s latest loss, he addressed his decision-making in the dying moments of the game, sharing his reasoning as to why he chose to drive the ball.
“The play was designed to get the ball to JT, Williams said. “Normally, the big is the one that’s guarding…“It was like, ‘I’ve got to get a shot up at least. So I tried to make contact with Walker and shot fake and try to get the ball up, at least on the glass, so we could get an offensive rebound and tip. He made a good play and got the ball and blocked it, and after that, no time left…When I caught it, I was like ‘I gotta find a way to get at least a shot attempt,’ but there was no avenue in that scenario”
In spite of that final play, Williams had a good game for Boston, ending their contest with 23 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists while shooting 50% from the field and 58.3% from deep.
Danny Ainge Has Faith in Joe Mazzulla
When speaking to The Athletic’s Jay King before the Celtics fell to defeat against the Jazz, Danny Ainge spoke about Joe Mazzulla’s potential to become a ‘legendary coach’ so long as he learns from his mistakes.
“I just always liked Joe’s work ethic, his focus, his intelligence,” Ainge said. “I feel like Joe is one of those guys — one way that I’ve always measured greatness is how much a person can learn from mistakes they make. Joe’s going to learn from his mistakes, just like Will Hardy learns from his mistakes quickly. … The coaches that learn and move on, they become the legendary coaches. And I think both Joe and Will have a chance to be those.”
Celtics fans will get a chance to see if Mazzulla has learned anything from Boston’s recent poor form when they take on the Sacramento Kings, who have been performing at an elite level of late, on March 21.