Brad Stevens Boston Celtics Game Winning Slob by John Zall
As a life long Boston Celtics fan these past two seasons have been anything but enjoyable. When you know that the most important day of your season is going to be the the NBA Draft Lottery it’s never a good sign. Every impact player from their playoff teams has been traded away, most recently Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green. To the outside, it appeared the Celtics were trying to best position themselves for a high draft pick in the upcoming 2015 NBA Draft. However, no one seemed to tell Head Coach Brad Stevens and this make shift roster.
Night-in and night-out Coach Stevens might not know who will be on the roster but he does know that they will be extremely well prepared and have a consistent level of energy.
After a successful West Coast Road Trip the Celtics tried to ride their momentum into the All-Star Break. Their first half finale included a visit from the Atlanta Hawks, owners of the best record in the NBA. With the Celtics trailing by only a point they had possession of the basketball sideline-out-of bounds. Tayshaun Prince, NBA Veteran and former key cog of the great Detroit Pistons teams of the mid 2000’s, was inbounding the ball. The Celtics went with a small line-up in this late game situation, with Prince playing the 4. Marcus Thorton was positioned in the corner, Avery Bradley was off elbow, Jared Sullinger was at the top of the key and set a screen for Evan Turner to free himself to catch himself for the inbounds pass.
With only 6.4 seconds left on the clock the Celtics had to move quickly and get into their set. Bradley and and Sullinger went to set a stagger screen for Thorton in the corner. Instead of coming off the second stagger, Thorton curled off the first Bradley screen with his defender trailing him. Al Horford, who was guarding Jared Sullinger, did a good job stepping off the screen and jamming the cutter who would of had a layup. The Celtics would typically run a stagger screen in this situation so it was a nice wrinkle by Brad Stevens hoping to get an easy 2 for the win.
Bradley then turned and curled off a screen from Sullinger. As soon as he got to the perimeter Turner was already heading towards the basket. Sullinger turned and dove to the rim with Turner as a potential passing target or for a rebounding opportunity. Demare Carroll was guarding the ball and did a good job squaring Turner up on his initial cross over move. Turner countered with a quick wrap around and got enough of an angle to get into the paint and shoot a floater over the help with .2 seconds left on the clock.
Atlanta defended that play about as well as you, you can see why they’re ranked 6th in defensive efficiency(1.002 PPP), but sometimes good offense wins out. Evan Turner made a great move and got the Celtics a big home win to close out the first half of the season, and move them to within a half game of the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
John Zall BIO
Coach John Zall just completed his first season as an Assistant Coach at Division II Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, NH. This past season Franklin Pierce University won 20 games and advanced to the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament. Zall arrived at Franklin Pierce after spending the past 3 seasons as the Associate Head Coach/Head JV Coach at O’Bryant High school in Roxbury, MA. During his tenure at O’Bryant the program improved from 4 wins to 12 wins and qualified for the MIAA State Tournament twice.
Coach Zall also has experience as an AAU Head Coach for the Boston Warriors. As Head Coach for the Warriors his team won the 2011 16U State Title and twice competed in AAU Nationals down in Orlando, FL. On top of being a student at Northeastern University, Zall was named Head Coach of the Men’s Club Basketball team for the 2012-13 season. During his lone season as Head Coach, Northeastern finished second in the Northeast Regional Tournament featuring colleges from throughout the East Coast. Coach Zall has also spent time as a Head Coach in the Bay State Games where his team won the Bronze Medal in 2012 and at various camps including: Five Star, Boston Celtics, NIKE, Franklin Pierce University, Hoop Group and The Elite 75.
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