Dan Devine

Video: Al Jefferson wins it with a little tappy, tap, tap, taparoo

Dan Devine
Ball Don't Lie

Successfully boxing out an offensive rebounder rarely earns you a spot on a highlight reel. A failed attempt, though — or worse, the failure to attempt, especially late in a game? More often than not, that'll lead to a video memory you'd just as soon forget.

Here's hoping the Toronto Raptors stocked up on Forget-Me-Nows, because their inability to keep Utah Jazz big man Al Jefferson(notes) off the offensive glass in the closing seconds — broken down in detail by NBA Playbook's Sebastian Pruiti — cost them Wednesday night's game, sending the Air Canada Centre crowd home bummed following a deflating 96-94 defeat.

Abandoning basketball fundamentals at an inopportune moment isn't cool, Raptors. You know what's cool? Duh. TIMELY.

Here's how Jefferson and new Jazz point guard Devin Harris(notes) saw the play, according to the Associated Press:

Tied 94-all with 17 seconds to play, the Jazz held the ball until Harris drove for a layup. His shot missed but Jefferson tipped the shot back in as the horn sounded.

"I had a good look, but Big Al came out of nowhere like Superman," Harris said.

Jefferson saw it as something else.

"I just got my hand on the ball and I tipped it up," he said. "The basketball God was on our side tonight, that's all I've got to say."

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Judging by what he told Eric Koreen of Canada's National Post, it seems like Toronto forward Reggie Evans(notes) is on the same page as Big Al:

"It seemed like he did a volleyball swing — up, though," Evans said. "It went in. He got lucky. I think he was even surprised with that last bucket.

"I guess God was with him on that shot."

Yahweh, Kal-El, Zeus, Odin — I'm not sure which deity it is, but someone's been rolling with Jefferson over the last three weeks. He's averaged 27.9 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks a night over his past 10 games, hitting 59.2 percent of his field goals. (That said, the Jazz are 3-7 in those 10 games, so he clearly stinks.)

Al has also grabbed 14 offensive rebounds in his last two outings, but I'd chalk that up less to divine intervention than to playing the Raptors and New York Knicks, both of whom rank among the league's 10 worst teams when it comes to keeping opponents off the offensive boards. Sure, God works in mysterious ways, but sometimes the explanation is as clear as an unimpeded path to the backboard.

Video courtesy of The Hoop Scene.

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