A Bojan Bogdanovic, Ian Mahinmi and Jason Smith trio was an actual front-court lineup that Scott Brooks went with in a game 7. In just 3 minutes, Jason Smith managed to accumulate a -13 plus/minus. Yeah, you read that right: -13 in 3 minutes.
Mahinmi, had a -10 in 11 minutes, and Bojan had a -19 in 16 minutes.
Why would Brooks play that lineup at this point in the series? How did Brooks play Markieff Morris 11 minutes in the third and still manage to play this lineup. Why did Brooks not play Kelly Oubre at all? Why did he decide John Wall or Bradley Beal didn’t need any rest in the second half, which essentially ran his two best players into the ground?
So many unanswered question in game 7 for Brooks, but the absolute travesty of a lineup he threw out in the waining minutes of the third essentially cost them the game. After Bojan and Mahinmi entered the game, the Celtics went on a 11-3 run. Brooks miraculously decided to stick with Bojan and Smith in the beginning of the fourth. The Wizard’s 76-74 lead with only 15 minutes left in the game quickly became a 94-81 deficit.
Although this lineup seemed to be the glaring critique of many on Twitter, Beal and Wall going the distance in the second half went largely unnoticed. John Wall went missing in the fourth, which was in part due to the fact he played almost the whole game.
The Wizard’s bench is obviously poor, I’m not denying that, but playing Wall and Beal the entire second half is like committing suicide, and their fatigue showed down the stretch.
In the game’s final 19 minutes, John Wall had 0 points, shooting 0 for 11 from the floor. 7 of his 11 shots were 3s. Once he got to the 4th, he had nothing left in the tank and had to settle for jump-shots. The same thing happened to the Wizards in game 2, when Wall him and Beal went missing in the final minutes of regulation and OT. You’d think Brooks would remember this.
Beal had an amazing performance, and really picked up the offensive burden when Wall started to struggle. But, in the final 5 minutes of the game he had nothing left in the tank as well. This also makes the Oubre DNP look even worse.
Once it was clear Bojan was getting exposed, Brooks should’ve immediately played Oubre. Was Brooks afraid that the young forward would get eaten up by the Boston crowd? Oubre had a pretty good game 5, despite the fact the Wizards got killed. His DNP was pretty much inexplicable, especially when Bojan and Mahinmi combined for 27 minutes. Are you telling me he couldn’t have gave you a better 27 minutes than those 2? Not to mention the fact that Otto Porter and Markieff Morris carried an insane load, playing 39 and 42 minutes respectively.
At this point I’m just ranting. Halfway through the third quarter I had no hope in the Celtics. Isaiah was not playing that well on offense, and was getting exploited every possession on defense. The Wizards had the two best players in the game, Wall and Beal, and it just seemed like they were about to turn their 6 point lead into a 14 point lead at any moment.
Stevens made a great move by subbing in Marcus Smart for Isaiah, but when Brooks threw out that disastrous lineup, it changed the whole dynamic of the game. If Wall and Beal were fresh, perhaps they could’ve made a late push, but once the lead amassed to 13 the Wizards had no chance.
Yes, Kelly Olynyk having a career night obviously affected the game as well, but Brook’s blatant mismanaging of lineups was almost sad to watch, and I was rooting for the Celtics.
I understand sticking with your best in the biggest moments, but it’s the coaches job to manage your best 5’s minutes so they’re all peaking at the right point in the game. Brooks simply did not do that, and it might’ve cost the Wizards this series.