With the clock reading 20 seconds and the Boston Celtics holding a 94-93 lead over the Philadelphia 76ers, head coach Brad Stevens called timeout to regroup his squad. The shot clock only gave Boston 9 seconds to extend its lead of the visiting Sixers to three and after the huddle, Kris Humphries found himself wide open from 16-feet out of the left baseline. His shot clanked off the back iron, Michael Carter-Williams grabbed the loose rebound and began racing down the floor.
"It’s one of the most difficult decisions because it seems like life is in slow motion," Sixers coach Brett Brown said of whether to call a timeout when MCW streaked down the parquet. "Do you call a timeout, don’t you call a timeout? Do you call a timeout, don’t you call a timeout? I feel like I’ve learned through the ages that the busted play, the broken play, the random play is probably as good a play as you’re going to get."
Carter-Williams slowed as he crossed half-court and the rookie, who has still only played 34 games in the NBA, made a veteran decision and passed the ball to a teammate with a mismatch.
"When I got it I can’t remember who was on me, but I saw ET had a smaller defender on him so I got him the ball and he made a great finish to get us the win and at the end of the day it’s all about giving us the best chance to win," Carter-Williams said. "We had some movement, he was able to get into the lane and hit a nice pull-up jump shot.
Of course, many Sixers fans groaned as Turner sprinted around the TD Garden court after his shot ripped through the net. With the victory, the Sixers moved to 15-31 on the season and the Celtics fell to 15-33, swapping the two teams in the standings and lowering the Sixers’ odds are receiving the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, if the season the ended today. Brown’s club is now just a half game behind up on the Sacramento Kings in holding onto fourth place in the inverted standings.
But this is another classic example of a moment that is much bigger than the literal outcome. Brown’s comments post-game show just how much he’s learned and meticulously reviewed his tactics during his first season at the helm of the Sixers. That’s what you want from a long-term head coach. Carter-Williams’ recognized his shots weren’t falling and noticed one of his team’s best scorers had a size advantage and deferred. That’s what you want from a franchise point guard.
Yes, the win stings now. It burns just like the bitter whip of the Boston winter wind. But just as spring is around the corner, so is the team’s ever-bright future.
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