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Opinion

A series defined by a coin toss

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Roar Rookie
25th September, 2020
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The most common use of a coin toss in sport is to decide which end of the field the team scores in, however in some cases it can be the difference between winning and losing.

Just ask Richmond fans when Trent Cotchin won the toss in the 2014 elimination final and elected to kick against the breeze, or in NFL overtime when sometimes the team that losses the toss doesn’t even get possession back before the game is over.

So it begs the question: what’s the most you ever lost on a coin toss?

This is one of the standout lines in the 2007 cinematic classic No Country for Old Men, and much like the local shop keeper in the film, a coin toss has been the difference between life and death for the Boston Celtics in these NBA playoffs.

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Over a year ago the picks in the 2019 NBA draft were being finalised and due to a previous trade the Celtics had acquired the Sacramento Kings’ first-round pick. They finished the season with a 39-43 record.

The Miami Heat and Charlotte Hornets also had a 39-43 record, meaning that in order to decide the picks, a three-way coin toss was used.

This resulted in Miami getting the 13th pick and Boston getting the 14th pick.

Normally this wouldn’t mean too much in the grand scale of things, however with the 13th pick of the draft the Heat would draft Kentucky guard Tyler Herro.

Basketball

(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

Now of course you can say this about every draft in any kind of sport as teams constantly just miss out on a player by one pick and there is no guarantee the other team would’ve picked the player had they been available.

However it is well known that the Celtics had their eyes on Herro and when he was selected one pick ahead them the front office let out a collective moan.

So that brings me to the Eastern Conference finals, where the Heat are up 3-1 on the Celtics and are looking to close out the series.

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The biggest difference maker in these games? Tyler Herro.

In the first four games, these have been his stats.

Game 1: 12 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists, 50 per cent field goal, 40 per cent three points, win.

Game 2: 11 points, nine rebounds, five assists, 33 per cent field goal, 12 per cent three point, win.

Game 3: 22 points, three rebounds, four assists, 66 per cent field goal, 33 per cent three point, loss.

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Game 4: 37 points, six rebounds, three assists, 66 per cent field goal, 50 per cent three point, win.

Considering all three of Miami’s wins have been by under five points, all of these performances have been incredibly important and you can only imagine what could have been had the coin toss flipped the other way.

If Miami go on to win the series and the championship, they can be thankful the coin fell their way.

As for Celtics fans, the next time you watch No Country for Old Men and Javier Bardem’s character poses the question “What’s the most you ever lost on a coin toss?”, you have every right to say “an Eastern Conference finals”.