Turner hits, Rondo slips in bizarre finish
by Adi Joseph, USA TODAY Sports
The Boston Celtics had three chances. The Philadelphia 76ers had Evan Turner.
Turner, who finally is playing like the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 draft, nailed a twisting midrange jump shot with two Celtics defending to give the Sixers a one-point lead with 3.9 seconds left in overtime for a 95-94 win Friday. Turner had 26 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in one of his brightest moments since winning national player of the year awards at Ohio State.
“Hopefully, it’s the first of many,” Turner said. “I’m glad I was able to break through.”
The Celtics had their chances, though. With a one-point lead before Turner’s shot, Celtics guard Courtney Lee missed a wide-open three-pointer from the corner, the most efficient shot in basketball. Then, after the Sixers took the lead, Paul Pierce had a chance to draw a shooting foul on an inbound play, but Damien Wilkins fouled him before he could go up.
The ensuing inbound play, with 3.7 seconds remaining, was when things got weird. Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo took the ball out on the sideline and passed to Kevin Garnett on the elbow, the Rondo sprinted by his man, and Garnett found him open for a shot. But as Rondo went up, he slipped and his ankle gave out, leaving him unable to take a smooth approach on the wide-open 16-foot jump shot.
The final play was designed for Garnett, who saw Rondo streaking and assumed he would try for a layup, The Boston Globe‘s Gary Washburn reports.
“I should have took a layup,” Rondo said. “It’s frustrating. But the good thing about the NBA is you’ve got a chance to bounce back tomorrow night and get it back.”
Rondo, who had a triple-double with 16 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds, is known for his poor shooting, specifically from three-point range. But Sixers blogger Derek Bodner of LibertyBallers.com points out Rondo is among the top 10% in the NBA this season on midrange jumpers, from 16-23 feet, according to Synergy Sports. Though he ends up fading away on the play, Rondo had a very clean look … [For more on Evan Turner hits, Rajon Rondo slips in bizarre finish, click here.]