Employee number 8 has caught a lot of flack in the aftermath of game 5 for failing to pull the trigger on a wide open three ball with 45 seconds remaining in a tie game. Here’s how Celtics Hub’s Zach Lowe described the sequence that led to the criticism:
But Doc did have one chance to get Davis in the game on offense: when Boston got the ball with 49 seconds left in regulation and the score tied 91-91 and called time out to set up a play. But Doc, enamored with the concept of having four “shooters” on the floor, kept Baby on the bench and inserted Marbury. And that’s when Pierce drove to the middle, drew the defense and dished to Marbury for a three-pointer so wide open the crowd groaned when he passed the ball to Rondo along the baseline.
I at first was also outraged at Starbury’s unwillingness to take the three. Why was the guy even in the game if he’s unable to pull the trigger at that point? There’s a fine line between playing unselfish and playing scared. In this case, Marbury looked like a player that just lacked the confidence to take the big shot.
After some further investigation of this play however, I have noticed one glaring part of the play that many Celtics fans (myself included) failed to see during the intital viewing. Marbury did not catch the ball cleanly. In fact, by the time he had the ball comfortably, the Bulls defender had recovered so he likely would have been able to contest any shot Starbury would have put up.
I also don’t understand the negativity towards Stephon’s actions after passing up the shot. People reacted as if he threw the ball out of bounds when he passed it to Rajon Rondo. Yes it was a tough spot for the point guard to drive from on the baseline with the shot clock winding down, but Rondo had been our best offensive weapon in the game at that point.
Given the choice of the two players, almost every Celtic fan would prefer Rajon to take the shot on that possession as opposed to the player who hasn’t been able to find his jumper consistenly all year. The entire sequence was made out to be worse once Rondo airballed the floater which allowed Marbury to become an easy scapegoat.
My point here I guess is admonish Marbury all you want, but make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. The guy obviously has not lived up to expectations since arriving in Beantown but he has been a good solider to this team and has been busting his butt trying to find ways to contribute. As a Celtics fan, I appreciate that effort. I believe that Marbury still has enough confidence in himself to help this team despite his 29% shooting percentage in this series and we saw flashes of that in 13 point 5 assist performance in game 3.
During the final minute of game 5, Doc had him in there for Big Baby at that point for a reason and that was to spread the floor more than Big Baby would have been able to. Marbury did what he was suppose to do in that respect, he just wasn’t able to catch a pass cleanly. So criticize him for having butterfingers if you want, but let’s give the guy the benefit of the doubt before calling him scared.
Like Doc said before the playoffs started, the C’s will need Stephon to win of these games for us. I’m not quite sure if that’s going to happen but if this team wants to get back to the promise land, they are going to need him to come through more. In order for that to happen, the point guard needs C’s fans support rather than dread when he’s out there in crunch time.
So shake off the case of dropsies Starbury, and know that the Celtic Faithful still have your back.