Hand it to Gary Payton (above, left). With the Celtics’ veteran point guard running the show, Boston failed to get a shot off with 28 seconds left and a one point lead —- and turned the ball over to Portland on a clock violation. And with the Glove organizing the Celtics defense on the ensuing inbounds pass, Shareef Abdur-Rahim hit a three pointer for the win.
That said, Boston almost survived shooting for 1 for 16 from three point range, and almost won a game despite leaving Ricky Davis on the floor during crucial moments down the stretch (including a brutal airball with less than two minutes to go).
In TNT’s early game, the Rockets outscored the Spurs 19-7 in the game’s final 2:30, including an insane sequence in which Tracy McGrady scored 13 points during the last 35 seconds (along with the game-winner at the buzzer). Amazing what T-Mac can do when Houston busts out of Jeff Van Gundy’s plodding half court offense. Watching San Antonio coach Greg Popovich interviewed afterwards, I really thought we were gonna witness a meltdown of Lee Elia proportions, but Pop’s too classy a guy. That, and the league would’ve fined the fuck out of him.