Sometimes you just gotta let the superstars get their shots. Or so the theory goes.
In Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals, the Celtics let LA’s Kobe Bryant shoot the ball 24 times. In one of the grittiest, hard-hitting basketball games in Finals history, Bryant nearly shot the Lakers out of a title, hitting just six field goals and missing all six of his 3-point attempts. Had it not been for Ron Artest’s late 3, history may have looked differently at Bryant and the whole strategy of “let him get his.”
There was also the 2008 Celtics-Cavaliers semi-finals series in which LeBron James shot the ball 29 times in Game 7, hitting 14 shots from the floor and finishing with 45 points. But the Celtics prevailed, 97-92.
Going deeper into Celtics history, Boston allowed Chicago’s Michael Jordan to shoot the ball 41 times in Game 2 of a 1986 quarterfinal series. Jordan hit on 22 of those shots and finished with a whopping 63 points … but the Bulls lost, 135-131.
Knicks star Carmelo Anthony took 29 shots in Game 1 of this year’s Celtics-Knicks series, hitting 13 while scoring 36 points. In the Celtics’ lone win over New York this season back on Jan. 7 at Madison Square Garden, Anthony took 26 shots, hitting just six. He totaled 20 points in the 102-96 loss.
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While there is no concrete plan in the “How to stop the 2012-13 Knicks” manual (if forcing Anthony to shoot the ball 30 times always led to a Knicks loss, everyone would do it), Doc Rivers and the Celtics may very well elect to dabble in the “let ‘em get theirs” theory.
Scoring champs and even those that have been in the running for “best ever” have bad shooting nights in the postseason.
Follow Metro sports editor and columnist Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS