First thing's first: Darko Milicic(notes) had 14 points (albeit on 7-for-16 shooting), 11 rebounds, two blocks and two assists on Thursday night as the Minnesota Timberwolves notched a 109-97 victory over the Washington Wizards. On one trip down the court, Milicic created a layup for himself with a sweet behind-the-back dribble and spin move (gracias, @OutsideTheNBA), showcasing the athleticism and unique skill-set that made him such an intriguing prospect lo those many years ago. He's come a long way since his early season struggles, raising his shooting percentage to 45.6 percent and posting the best points- and blocks-per-36-minutes numbers of his career.
These are good, positive, true things about Darko Milicic, and it is important to me that I share them with you up front.
Now let's get to the awesome part where Darko tips the ball into his own basket off of a jump ball.
International readers ("Int'l read'rs"): If the clip above isn't rocking for you, feel free to peruse the tip-in courtesy of our friends at the National Basketball Association. And for those of you who like a bit more context with your highlight, Altitude04 has a minute-long clip that includes the warm-up, cool-down and subsequent Wolves possession.
Pretty great, right? Even better is this stub of a description by the Associated Press:
Jumping against Wizards forward Al Thornton(notes) at one end of the court in the first quarter Thursday night, Milicic batted the ball backward and right into the basket. Thornton was credited with the bucket, the easiest two points he'll ever get.
The grumpy Milicic just shrugged and headed back down the court as the hometown crowd let out a groan. [emphasis mine]
[begin stump speech]
And I make this promise to you, my fellow BDLiens: If elected Alderman of Ball Don't Lie, I will ensure that "The Grumpy Milicic" — the greatest children's book the NBA has ever produced, better even than "Chris Dreams BIG," the magnum opus of Chris Dudley, retired journeyman center and former Republican nominee for governor of Oregon — makes a triumphant return to its rightful place in the curriculum of every preschool in the contiguous United States, most principalities, all protectorates and anywhere that decent, GOAT-fearing fans yearn, Ginoblesque, to breathe free.
[end stump speech]
The occurrence of a rare, hilarious play + the presence of cosmic oddity Darko Milicic + the wonderful sentence from the AP + the resonant home-crowd groan + the fact that the play had no bearing on the game and that the Wolves won = so much to enjoy here, from all sides.
Plus, now Minnesota president of basketball operations David Kahn can compare Darko to Rasheed Wallace, too, which is awesome, because I bet he gets sick of always likening Milicic to Chris Webber. By my count, that's a win-win-win-win-win-win, which is just four fewer wins than Minnesota has this year.
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- Darko Milicic