1. If you are not a super-huge soccer fan/Dirty Tackle reader like me (Cobi Jones is still a thing, right?), you might not know that "nutmeg" is the British term for rolling the ball through a defender's legs, like Utah Jazz point guard Jamaal Tinsley did to Oklahoma City Thunder center Nazr Mohammed in the fourth quarter of Utah's 97-90 home win over the West-leading Thunder on Tuesday night. It's considered embarrassing to be nutmegged in soccer. On this score, our sports speak the same language.
2. The Salt Lake Tribune's Gordon Monson wrote a postgame column praising the 24-22 Jazz — winners of four straight and five of six, now just a half-game out of the West's eighth seed — for not only believing they can beat anybody, but going out and proving it against the conference's top team. In it, he includes a positive quote from the 34-year-old Tinsley about Utah's unified front: "We all like each other ... We all pull for each other. There's no hidden agenda here. Just one agenda — win ball games." He attributes the quote to "oldster Jamaal Tinsley." Nazr Mohammed, you just got nutmegged by an "oldster." Sorry, bro.
3. In a longer version of the clip posted by our friends at The Hoop Scene, Jazz color commentator and 11-year NBA veteran Matt Harpring says he's never seen a play like the one Tinsley made. That seems weird, because while plays like this are rare, they're not, like, unicorns. Ricky Rubio just did it to DeMarcus Cousins in the Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend last month, Brandon Jennings did it to some dude over the summer, and pretty much every And1-style streetball game includes at least one iso dribble move like this.
That said, Harpring may be right about never seeing this kind of play in an actual game that counts. Guys like Steve Nash, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker always seem to be making passes through opponents' legs, but I can't recall ever seeing a ball-handler go through a defender's legs and back to himself on the other side in a regular-season or playoff game. (Then again, it's very possible that both Matt and I are just having memory cramps — if you've got an example, feel free to correct me in the comments or on Twitter.
UPDATE: Moni of the fine blog Living and Dying by the Jazz reminds us that Tinsley actually did this against the Golden State Warriors earlier this season, but the play was blown dead after he nutmegged Warriors forward David Lee. And @ElHeisenberg tweeted to remind us that Tinsley was a big fan of going five-hole on big men back in his Indiana Pacers days, catching the likes of Pau Gasol, Chris Kaman and Yao Ming, among others. So basically, Jamaal Tinsley loves to do this, and Matt Harpring and I have terrible memories.
4. The flash of the play obscures the solid all-around play that Tinsley turned in Tuesday — 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting, three assists and just one turnover in 18 minutes of play in support of Utah starter Devin Harris. Signed as a third-stringer to provide "in case of injury, break glass" depth behind Harris and Earl Watson, the Brooklyn, N.Y., native and former Indiana Pacers point man has actually provided pretty sound play when pressed into duty this year.
As David Smith of the Deseret News notes, Tinsley has seen at least 10 minutes of floor time in eight games this season. In those games, "he is averaging 8.0 points and 5.6 assists per outing, while hitting six of 12 three-point attempts," an the Jazz have posted a 5-3 mark in those contests. Not stellar, but steady, which is exactly what coach Ty Corbin is looking for when he looks down the bench for Tinsley.
5. He hit the floater, putting the period at the end of the sentence. It's not really a highlight if you miss the shot, gang.
Is the video above not rocking for you? Feel free to peruse the nutmeg elsewhere, thanks to our friends at the National Basketball Association.
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