Avery Bradley game winner

Not all game-winning shots are pretty. That’s certainly the case with the three-pointer the Boston Celtics’ Avery Bradley hit Sunday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, which hit the rim four separate times before going in to give Boston a 111-108 victory. Here’s the shot:

In the end, it doesn’t particularly matter that Bradley’s shot (which came off a pass from Marcus Smart) was a long way from nothing but net. It went in, and the extra bounces were probably actually helpful, as they killed even more time off the clock. By the time the ball fell through the hoop, the 0.1 seconds left didn’t give Cleveland enough time to respond. And the Celtics weren’t even expected to contend in this game after losing 130-86 in Game Two and 117-104 in Game One, and particularly after losing star point guard Isaiah Thomas for the season in Friday’s Game Two loss. And that’s to say nothing of Cleveland’s 13-game winning streak heading into this. In fact, many thought Boston had conceded even when they walked in:

The Celtics weren’t going away, though, even after they trailed by 21 in the third quarter. They wound up fighting all the way back, with Smart (filling in for many of Thomas’ minutes) finishing with 27 points (on 57.1 per cent shooting), seven assists and five rebounds, and Bradley finishing with 20 points (albeit only on 34.8 per cent shooting). And while Bradley’s game-winner may have not been the most picturesque one ever, he made it count, and gave the Celtics a little bit of hope. They’re still down 2-1 in the series, and they still have a mountain to climb (especially without Thomas), but on Sunday at least, they were able to take a few upwards steps.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.