Last Thursday, J.R. Smith(notes) of the Denver Nuggets turned in what Monsieur Freeman described as an "unreasonably athletic reverse lay-up" that illustrated how garbage time can be the NBA's answer to the 12:55 sketch slot on "Saturday Night Live" — the perfect opportunity to stretch the form of the game, to provide exhilarating, nonsensical reminders of what's so fun about basketball being performed as much as it's being played.
Earl's up-and-under was certainly exhilarating; file the above sequence from the closing minutes of the Portland Trail Blazers' 108-93 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night under "nonsensical."
Obviously, it's sloppy and funny and odd — Mike Fratello's probably right when he suggests to Marv Albert that the play will wind up on some blooper reel dedicated to sports' dopier moments. But there's something so endearing about grown men flailing about like kids playing sandlot soccer in the waning moments of a decided game.
It also feels especially fitting that the trigger man for the chaos is Rudy Fernandez(notes), the Spanish swingman whose style and substance can induce grins and grumbles in pretty equal measure. That he both causes the mess (by crashing into teammate Wesley Matthews(notes) and losing the ball) and cleans it up (by grabbing Randy Foye's(notes) errant pass after it tips off of Eric Gordon's(notes) hand, hopping over LaMarcus Aldridge(notes) and making a bunny) is the perfect capper to a game in which Fernandez made some circus shots, including a wafting, no-chance hook that surely set the Clips' teeth to grinding.
We focus on the grinding a lot, because there's always something to gripe about amid the combined grumpery of players, coaches, executives, writers, fans, haters and everyone else who's ever watched a ball go through a net. But the game can be pretty silly, too, and that's totally OK.
International readers ("Int'l read'rs"): If the clip above isn't rocking for you, please feel free to peruse the stoogery courtesy of NWSports100.
And because we humbly submit that everything is more fun when placed in the context of "The Benny Hill Show," hit the jump for a remix of the sequence soundtracked by "Yakety Sax."
Remix clip courtesy of our man @Jose3030.
- Mike Fratello