In the recent NBA sport, the offensive side of the ground gets the consideration. Shot clock violations don’t precisely pay the payments the approach lobs and contested 30-footers arrangement. Even in a league so laser-centered on the offensive finish, there is quiet elite grab protection to be chanced on on a nightly foundation.
On Friday night at Staples Heart in Los Angeles, the Celtics erased an 11-point halftime deficit with eight made threes in the third quarter. Certain, very 2021 NBA of them. While the shooting barrage led to a third quarter where Boston outscored the Clippers 38-20, it used to be fourth-quarter protection on Kawhi Leonard that sealed the 119-115 Celtics win.
Whenever you happen to take a look at the field rating, Semi Ojeleye’s night doesn’t precisely soar out. Going 2-8 from the area and sincere 1-6 from three to finish with five points isn’t an dismay inspiring performance for the SMU product, however his final 30 seconds were sport-changing.
With Leonard cooking for the Clippers despite the Celtics bringing constant double groups, Boston wanted an answer for the MVP candidate. After Kemba Walker, who finished with 22 points on the night including 8 in the fourth quarter, gave Boston a 113-112 lead with a vintage mid-range jumper the Celtics wanted a stop. With 32 seconds left and the Clippers in possession, Stevens subbed Ojeleye in to handle Leonard.
Ojeleye forced a sophisticated, off-balance jumper by walling off Leonard’s power. His contest used to be adequate to force a key travel out. Speaking of contesting, when Leonard settled for a doable sport-tying with 15 seconds left, Ojeleye once again had a hand in the face of the 2019 NBA Finals MVP.
Forcing the two greatest misses of the night while being original off the pine earned Ojeleye some genuinely-earned praise from his head coach:
Brad Stevens on Semi Ojeleye: “He would now not get known distinguished for what he does for us. Or no longer it is no longer the best seemingly thing in the world to be subbed into the sport with 32 seconds left and requested to guard Kawhi Leonard.”
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) February 6, 2021
While Jayson Tatum’s 40 points will stick out in the field rating, Ojeleye made the performs that sealed Boston’s comeback win. It would possibly perchance in all probability well no longer were “the best seemingly thing in the world,” however the Celtics arrangement-it-all ahead used to be up to the area.