Boston Celtics center Tyler Zeller hit the first game winner of his career as he made a layup at the end of the game to defeat the Utah Jazz.
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Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward played against his former coach at Butler, Celtics head coach, Brad Stevens and Hayward made sure he left a good impression before he left the floor.
Hayward hit what would be the potential game winning shot as he got past Avery Bradley at the top of the arc and then attacked the rim as Tyler Zeller got switched on him defensively.
Instead of getting to the rim for the layup Hayward stopped on a dime and hit the pull up jumper on Zeller leaving 1.7 seconds on the clock.
The Boston Celtics immediately called timeout and then drew up a play. As Marcus Smart went to inbound the basketball he saw no one open so he then called a second timeout in a row.
After the second straight timeout and the Celtics walked out of the Brad Stevens timeout they heard U2’s hit song Vertigo and these lyrics were said. “I can’t stand the beats/I’m asking for the cheque/The girl with crimson nails/Has Jesus ’round her neck.” The Celtics looked like they called on the right person because what would happen next was a blessing.
Smart this time got the basketball for the inbound and noticed the way that Jazz forward Derrick Favors was playing Zeller on the floor.
Smart saw that Favors was attempting to front Zeller for the basketball instead of the more intelligent play to stay behind him to guard the lob pass and he took advantage. Zeller also noticed this and he wisely dove to the rim. As Zeller dove Favors and rookie Rodney Hood switched defensively and Zeller caught the beautiful lob pass thrown by Smart. Zeller then evaded Hayward’s block attempt, and layed the basketball up right before the buzzer went off.
Zeller hit the first game winner of his career and ended the Jazz’ three-game winning streak.
More importantly for the Celtics, this win was huge because now they are only two games behind the Charlotte Hornets for the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. If they can reel together a series of great wins, they could make it to the playoffs. Zeller’s buzzer beater might show itself as the galvanizing spark the Celtics need to make a late season playoff push.
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