With 4.9 seconds remaining in Raptors-Nets Game 5 and Brooklyn down two points, Andray Blatche missed a free throw but grabbed the rebound.
Then, things got weird (aka Blatchey).
Rather than attempt a game-tying 2-pointer, Blatche dribbled out toward the corner. But before he got beyond the arc, he spun and passed to Deron Williams. The ball sailed over the head of Williams, who ran into the backcourt, picked it up and heaved it dangerously on track toward the rim.
Standing near the basket, Jonas Valanciunas poked the ball on its way down, still allowing it to hit the rim. Valanciunas almost certainly saw a backcourt-violation signal, mostly excusing him. But why risk misreading a referee to make that play?
The officials reviewed the backcourt violation and upheld the call, ruling no Raptor tipped the pass, and gave Toronto the ball.
From there, the game ended relatively quietly. Greivis Vasquez threw the final inbound pass toward the Raptors’ own basket, giving the Nets a chance to steal and shoot from close range. A leaping Williams couldn’t quite intercept the ball, though, and Terrence Ross caught it to finally guarantee a 115-113 Toronto win.
Utah’s Gordon Hayward abused the Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson on this play.
First, Hayward reads and steals Clarkson’s poor feed into the post intended for Kobe Bryant, then going up the sideline he takes his dribble behind Clarkson’s back to keep going. It all ends in a Rudy Gobert dunk.
Three quick takeaways here:
1) Gordon Hayward is a lot better than many fans realize. He can lead this team.
2) It’s still all about the development with Clarkson, and that’s going to mean some hard lessons.
3) Hayward may have the best hair in the NBA, even if it’s going a bit Macklemore.
(Hat tip reddit)
VIZZINI: “So, it is down to you. And it is down to me.”
MAN IN BLACK nods and comes nearer…
MAN IN BLACK: “Perhaps an arrangement can be reached.”
VIZZINI: “There will be no arrangement…”
MAN IN BLACK: “But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.”
That farcical scene from The Princess Bride pretty much sums up where we are with the Tristan Thompson holdout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, minus the Iocane powder. (Although that scene was a battle of wits in the movie and this process seems to lack much wit.) The Cavaliers have put a five-year, $80 million offer on the table. Thompson wants a max deal (or at least a more than has been offered), but he also doesn’t want to play for the qualifying offer and didn’t sign it. LeBron James just wants the two sides just to get it done.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN thinks LeBron could be very disappointed.
Windhorst was on the Zach Lowe podcast at Grantland (which you should be listening to anyway) and had this to say about the Thompson holdout:
“I actually believe it will probably go months. This will go well into the regular season.”
Windhorst compared it to a similar situation back in 2007 with Anderson Varejao, which eventually only broke because the then Charlotte Bobcats signed Varejao to an offer sheet. Thompson is a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer, but only Portland and Philadelphia have the cap space right now to offer him a max contract. Neither team has shown any interest in doing so.
And so we wait. And we may be waiting a while.