December 05, 2010
In the 2001 film "Ocean's Eleven," rakish thieves played by George Clooney and Matt Damon tell one another that when executing a high-stakes caper, attention to detail is critical. "If you lose focus for one second in this game, someone gets hurt," they said. The same could just as easily be said of a variety of other endeavors, including NBA basketball, as Courtney Lee(notes) of the Houston Rockets learned Saturday night.
With nine minutes remaining in the second quarter of the Rockets' road contest against the Chicago Bulls, Lee's teammate Brad Miller(notes) picked up his dribble near the top of the key so that he could hand the ball off to Lee, who was streaking along the 3-point line, and then set a screen on the Bulls' C.J. Watson(notes), who was trailing Lee. It's a standard pick play that you see teams use countless times every night in the NBA. These guys can run it in their sleep.
Except, y'know, not always. See, as Lee took the rock and attempted to curl around Miller's left shoulder toward the basket, he didn't quite give himself a wide enough berth. The result?
A battered and bloodied Lee left the game after the collision, but did return to play in the fourth quarter. The Western Kentucky standout finished with 9 points (3-for-4 shooting, 2-for-2 from 3-point land), 4 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal and a block as the Rockets fell to the Bulls 119-116 in overtime.
As for Miller, he had kind of a back-and-forth night. Yeah, he was the "bag of sand" who accidentally cold-cocked his teammate, but he also gave the Rockets a major spark off the bench, scoring 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter to keep Houston in the game late.
Then again, he also went 1-for-2 on a trip to the free-throw line with 10.7 seconds left in regulation. Draining both would have put Houston up by four points, but the split left the door open for Derrick Rose(notes) (30 points on 13-for-28 shooting, 11 assists, 7 rebounds) to do this:
As the Associated Press noted, though, Miller had a chance for revenge with 4.5 seconds left in overtime and the Bulls up 119-116:
After a timeout Miller caught the ball out top and appeared to want to hand the ball off to a curling teammate, but no one came open. Miller then missed a contested 3 at the buzzer.
No Rocket came open off the curl? Can't imagine why.