The Knicks bench, immediately after Andrea let it fly. (Screencap via SB Nation's Seth Rosenthal)
This is just all so very perfectly the 2013-14 New York Knicks.
With just under 20 seconds remaining in overtime — the Knicks led by four with less than 90 seconds left in regulation, but you know what, whatever — and the lowly Knicks holding a two-point lead over the even-more-lowly Milwaukee Bucks, Carmelo Anthony isolated on the wing (naturally) and hoisted a late-shot-clock jumper over the outstretched arms of Bucks defenders Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brandon Knight. The jumper missed, giving the Bucks a brief glimmer of hope of getting a chance to tie the game. But Knicks center Tyson Chandler — making his return Wednesday after 20 games on the shelf with a fractured right fibula — grabbed the offensive rebound of Anthony's miss and tossed it back out beyond the 3-point arc to the first blue jersey he saw.
That blue jersey belonged to Andrea Bargnani.
And Andrea Bargnani didn't see a fresh 24-second clock with less than 15 seconds remaining on the game clock — meaning, an opportunity to just take the air out of the ball, make the Bucks foul you, hit your free throws and head home with a victory. No — Bargnani saw himself standing above the 3-point arc, with no defender in front of him, and the basket just under 24 feet away:
Or, more to the point, he didn't think. Bargnani just caught and shot, because that's what Bargnani does: He shoots. Also, he missed, because that's what he does a solid 70 percent of the time he shoots from beyond the arc, and what he did 11 times in 16 total attempts on Wednesday.
MSG Network color commentator Walt "Clyde" Frazier, who knows things like time and game situation, immediately recognized the folly.
"WHAT IS HE DOING?" Clyde yelled. "WHAT IS HE DOING, FOLKS? Why would he shoot the ball? Why?"
He's doing what he was made to do, Clyde. You're familiar with the scorpion and the frog, I trust.
"Clyde, they basically had it set up for free throws and a chance to ice the game," MSG Network play-by-play man Spero Dedes said over a replay of the gaffe. "And Bargnani — for reasons only known to him — took the 3."
"He never hesitated," Clyde said, laughing softly. "Gathered himself to take the shot."
So, yeah: Bargs misses, announcers/teammates/Knicks fans/Bucks fans/random people who happened upon a League Pass game late on a Wednesday/the world at large alike all find themselves utterly dumbfounded, and the Bucks rebound the ball. They call a timeout, and they get one more shot at tying things up with 11.3 seconds left. They do tie things up, because while Knight's layup goes astray, nobody boxes out John Henson, and he gets a put-back to make it 94-all and send the game to a second overtime.
Now, I know what you're saying: "But Dan, the Knicks outscored the Bucks 13-7 in that second overtime, and held on for a 107-101 win. What's the big deal?" Well, here's my thing:
The big deal is that Chandler (who finished with nine points, nine rebounds, three blocks, an assist and a steal in 36 1/2 minutes) played an additional overtime period in his first game back from a broken leg, and did so despite dealing with left calf cramps repeatedly through the extra frame, when he didn't have to. The big deal is that Anthony (team-high 29 points on 9 for 29 shooting, nine rebounds, four assists, two blocks) played 55 1/2 minutes on Wednesday, which is (at least) five more than he probably had to.
The big deal is that after Bargnani committed one of the most amazingly ridiculous plays you're ever going to see in an NBA game — a game that saw J.R. Smith go 5 for 17 from 3-point land alone — Knicks head coach Mike Woodson kept Bargnani on the floor to start the second overtime. The big deal is that a Knicks team without four rotation players and that is bad even WITH those guys doesn't need to make it easier for other teams to beat them, and yet here they were doing it, courtesy of a guy for whom they traded a 2016 first-round pick and two second-round picks. Bargnani, Smith, Anthony, Woodson, the utterly lost Iman Shumpert ... the Knicks are basically playing basketball like they are kidding at this point. That, to me, is the big deal.
Actually, come to think of it, I'm wrong. I know what you're really saying. You never got past "WHAT IS HE DOING?," did you?
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