Celtics can't complete last-second win, lose to Pelicans, 106-105

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Brad Stevens was right.

The Boston Celtics need to play well to win, regardless of the opponent. 

They were better in the game’s latter stages of play, but it would prove to be too little too late as the Pelicans squeaked out a 106-105 win.

Isaiah Thomas led all scorers with 37 points to go with 7 assists. And the Pelicans Anthony Davis had 25 points, 16 rebounds, 4 steals and a pair of blocked shots.

Thomas’ driving lay-up tied the game at 105, only for Kelly Olynyk to bite on a pump-fake by Tim Frazier and fouled him with 2.5 seconds to play. 

An 82 percent free throw shooter, Frazier made the first of two free throws (he appeared to miss the second one intentionally to take some time off the clock).

Boston attempted to in-bound the ball to Thomas, but it sailed out of bounds seemingly as time expired. 

But officials reviewed the play and put 0.1 seconds back on the clock.

On the in-bounds, Tyler Zeller threw the ball towards the rim with Marcus Smart catching it off the rim, but with 0.1 seconds to play the only way he could have scored would have been on a tip-in.

The Celtics (5-5) had their two-game winning streak snapped while the Pelicans (1-9) just doubled their win total on the season with the victory.

The down-to-the-wire finish didn’t look all that likely considering the Celtics went into the fourth quarter trailing 84-74.

Gradually they fought their way back and eventually went ahead 99-98 on a backdoor cut for an Avery Bradley.

Langston Galloway gave the Celtics problems all game, and he put the Pelicans back on top with a jumper only for Isaiah Thomas to respond with a 3-pointer that put Boston ahead 102-100.

Davis, in do-it-all mode for the Pelicans, made a pair of free throws with 1:31 to play to tie the game at 102.

After a Thomas miss, the Pelicans called a time-out with 58.1 seconds to play. 

Coming out of the time-out, the Celtics did a good job of denying the Pelicans an opportunity to immediately go to their first and second options. 

Ultimately Davis rushed a shot that rimmed in and out before being rebounded by Kelly Olynyk. 

That led to an immediate time-out by Brad Stevens and the Celtics with 37.2 seconds to play. 

Out of the time-out, Thomas drove into the lane and got a foul called against Davis with 33.1 seconds to play. 

He split the two free throws, putting Boston ahead 103-102 which led to New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry calling his final time-out. 

Davis, the NBA’s leader in free throw attempts per game, made a pair with 24.7 seconds to put the Pelicans back on top 104-103. 

Boston led most of the first quarter, but the Pelicans closed the quarter with a 10-3 run to lead 27-26.

The second quarter was relatively close as well as New Orleans’ bench began to assert itself. Leading the second unit charge for the Pelicans was Langston Galloway who scored 12 of his 21 points in the quarter which was critical to putting the Celtics in a 56-51 halftime deficit. 

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