Tony Allen has let his freak flag fly free since becoming the Memphis Grizzlies' go-to perimeter stopper over the past two seasons, both on the court (remember when he decided to try to defend Kevin Durant with his hands behind his back?) and off of it (we remind you of last year's Grizzlies logo haircut, then point you toward his can't-miss Twitter account). The latest evidence of the Oklahoma State product's oddball flare? Allen's random insertion of a Statue-of-Liberty-style fake before a pass late in the second quarter of the Grizzlies' Monday night tilt against the Cleveland Cavaliers, during which he stalled the ball on his neck, pretended to throw it down-court, then bounced a simple feed to teammate Dante Cunningham.
It didn't, strictly speaking, do anything — there weren't any Grizzlies streaking down the floor for him to pass to anyway, so the fake fooled no Cav, and the fact that Memphis eventually got two points out of the possession had nothing to do with Allen playing make-believe. It was just a blithe, nonsensical bit of fun. Which is to say, it was a very Tony Allen play.
There's been some debate in the YouTube comments on the version of the play posted by our friends at The Hoop Scene about Grizz color commentator Sean Tuohy calling Allen's play a double dribble. Looking back on the play, Allen doesn't appear to dribble before taking possession of the loose ball, so you'd think he'd be on safe ground. He definitely "permits the ball to come to rest while he is in control of it" — you know, on his neck — which constitutes the end of a dribble movement based on the definition of a dribble in The Official Rules of the National Basketball Association 2011-2012 ... but then, Allen doesn't try to dribble again, so this would seem to be more of a "zero dribble with pointless fake" than a "double dribble." Plus, the refs didn't call anything, so, y'know, it's probably legal.
Then again, they didn't call the kicked ball and that looked pretty intentional, which probably should've been a violation. Maybe this entire sequence occurred while the officials were looking the other way, like Austin Daye was when Paul George blew past him Monday night. Secret double highlights, y'all.
In any event, the play was scored a steal for Allen, one of his franchise-record-setting eight rips on the evening, to go with 13 points in the Grizzlies' 85-80 home win over the lowly Cavs. Memphis (40-25) has won five straight and 13 of its last 16, and now sit just a half-game behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the Western Conference's fourth seed (and home-court advantage in the first round) with one game left on their schedule.
The Clips (40-24) have two East Coast road games remaining against the playoff-bound Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, while the Grizz close out at home against the reeling Orlando Magic on Thursday.