December 30, 2010
At the end of a quarter, half, or game, a player will usually launch a heave in the hopes of grabbing some slice of magic before the buzzer. It's a prayer in place of a quality, well-run play.
A short time ago, the Kings' Tyreke Evans(notes) had his prayer answered to give his team a 100-98 victory over the Grizzlies in Sacramento. Just so we're clear, this is a 50-foot shot at the buzzer right after a tough fadeaway by O.J. Mayo(notes) to give Memphis the lead with only 1.5 seconds remaining. Without a timeout, the Kings couldn't advance it, but it turns out Evans wouldn't need an easier look to win this one.
The BDL braintrust discussed this play right after it happened, and we cannot remember a longer game-winning shot in the history of the NBA. This is, to put it mildly, one of the most improbable endings the league has ever seen.
Of course, there's a lot of insanity on the play outside of the shot. Please notice that Kings forward Donte Greene(notes) leaps off the bench onto the court before the shot has even gone in for the ultimate act of basketball faith. He's almost in the paint by the time the ball goes through, which would probably be a technical foul if not for the pure awesomeness of the play itself. To make things even better, Greene also joined Evans on top of the scorer's table to celebrate. I'm not sure a player has ever been more excited about a shot he wasn't involved in, let alone a play for a lottery team in the cold of winter.
The Kings have had a rough few weeks: rookie big man DeMarcus Cousins(notes) can't get along with head coach Paul Westphal, Evans himself might need to have season-ending surgery to repair persistent plantar fasciitis, and they'd lost 16 of their last 17 (including eight in a row) before this win.
If everybody seems to be celebrating this victory a little too much, let me say two things: 1) Um, this is one of the craziest endings ever, and 2) Even the worst teams deserves a moment of pure joy. It's been a terrible season for the Kings and their fans, but they finally have something positive to remember for the rest of their lives.
(Video via Ben Golliver)