If there is one certainty in the NBA, it is that players and staff will exploit the slightest loophole in the rules.
As detailed by CBS Sports, that’s what the Celtics seem to be doing since the start of the season, compared to the clock. Thus, we are used to seeing teams take time to pick up the ball in the last quarter, waiting for opposing pressure to lose a few seconds on the clock.
Except that the Celtics seem to have systematized the technique, also placing players (usually Grant Williams) as screeners to prevent the opponent from coming to put pressure too quickly.
What annoy some, like Aaron Gordon, who took a flagrant fault trying to break the technique.
However, the strategy does not work in the last two minutes of the game, since the game clock stops with each basket scored, and resumes with possession.
But before the final two-minute mark, the game clock does not stop, while the 24-second clock only starts when a player takes possession of the ball on the field. Theoretically, it is therefore possible to let the timer run for several minutes, if no one picks up the leather.
When they are ahead, Joe Mazzulla’s Celtics nibble as many seconds as they can before the last two minutes. Against the Heat, they thus “burned” nearly 30 seconds in the last quarter.
To see now how the opponents and the referees (who, surprised, had even stopped the match against Orlando…) will adapt. But if the technique spreads in the NBA, we can think that the committee in charge of the rules, in charge of fighting against all “unsportsmanlike” techniques, will take a look at it next offseason.