LAS VEGAS — Summer League basketball is about player development more than anything else, and as a result, wins and losses are valued far less than they are in a normal regular season environment.
So much so, in fact, that games can be potentially decided by a ‘next basket wins’ scenario.
There are eight games per day running in two separate gyms here in Las Vegas, and the way the event is set up, the organizers don’t want things to fall too far behind schedule. So, if a game happens to remain tied after one overtime session, when the ball is tipped up for the second overtime, it goes to sudden death — with the team that scores next getting credit for the win in the Summer League standings.
It happened between the Atlanta Hawks and the D-League Select team on Sunday, and the result was complete mayhem for the game’s final one minute and 59 seconds.
Following what was surely one of the more hotly-contested jump balls of all time, players went all out on both ends of the court to try to get that final, precious, game-winning basket. Bodies hit the floor on every possession, but the referees swallowed their whistles, preferring to let the players decide the outcome instead.
Eventually, after somewhat of a mad scramble, the ball landed in the hands of Devin Ebanks, who got a layup to go that gave the D-League team the victory. It was far from an ideal way to decide a basketball game, but there’s no question that it was one of the more entertaining ones possible.