Thanks to some sloppy play down the stretch, the Boston Celtics lost Game 5 against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night. After Bobby Portis nabbed an offensive rebound and put the Bucks up by one with 11 seconds to go, the Celtics had the opportunity to take a lead of their own.
After a timeout, Derrick White was set to inbound the play. However, after a few seconds ticked away off the five-second count, Marcus Smart was forced to make a play. He drove to the rim but was blocked by Bucks guard Jrue Holiday, resulting in Milwaukee gaining possession.
During an interview on Zolak & Bertrand of 98.5 The Sports Hub, head coach Ime Udoka explained the play call. He said that it was not designed for Smart and that the point guard does not deserve to be blamed for how things played out.
“We didn’t execute as well as we wanted to. We had some offside action bringing a specific player on their team up into the action to get the switch,” Udoka detailed. “We knew how they were defending it. Didn’t get into it quick enough and get the ball where we wanted to, so Marcus had to go make a play. Five-second count counting down and no timeouts. So, nothing to blame Marcus about that at all. It was really our lack of execution overall as a team.”
Smart also had some thoughts on the play. During his post-game press conference, Smart provided even more detail on Boston’s final offensive set of the game.
Smart: ‘JT Was Supposed to Come Up’
The Celtics point guard was asked about the play after the game. He stated that Jayson Tatum was supposed to get the ball, but no one moved quick enough. In turn, he had to make a play, which resulted in the block by Holiday.
“JT was supposed to come up and get it, but everybody was just standing around,” Smart explained. “And you know, we had no timeouts, and there was a five-second count on the way. So, I just got open, tried to make a play. Jrue did a good job of helping. And that’s it. He made a good play.”
Smart’s game wasn’t over there, though. After Pat Connaughton nailed two free throws, he turned the ball over again while trying to bring it up the court. Holiday stripped him, and that ended the contest.
However, the 28-year-old put together a solid outing outside of his two late-game blunders. Smart finished the game with 15 points, four rebounds, and one assist. He shot 6-of-11 from the field and 3-of-5 from behind the three-point line.
He wasn’t the only player to give insight on the final play. Tatum was also asked about the miscue and gave his thoughts.
Tatum: ‘There Was a Little Miscommunication’
The 24-year-old superstar offered more details on what went wrong on Boston’s botched inbound play. He also admitted that he was supposed to get the ball. Tatum said that a simple miscommunication caused the mix-up.
“I was supposed to come off the pin down from Al… There was a little miscommunication,” Tatum said. “I guess the play broke down, and, you know, Smart drove baseline. Jrue Holiday made a good play at the rim. It’s as simple as that.”
Both Tatum and Smart gave credit to Holiday, who made two big-time plays for the Bucks down the stretch. He gave the Bucks a ton of production on both sides of the floor and ended the night with 24 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, one steal, and two blocks.
After the crushing defeat, Tatum also noted that the Celtics have to “take it one game at a time.” The series isn’t over, and Boston will have a chance to bounce back on Friday in Game 6, which tips off at 7:30 p.m. EST on ESPN.