January 14, 2011
When a game gets out of hand, most fans flee for the exits or turn off their TV sets knowing full well what the outcome will be. But garbage time, despite having nothing to do with who gets the win or loss, still has its fair share of positives. Young players get a chance to prove they belong, coaches get to see who should get more time, and NBA players still make unbelievable highlights.
Like, say, J.R. Smith's(notes) unreasonably athletic reverse lay-up above. Smith has had highlights like this before of both the dunk and lay-up variety, but those plays don't make this one any less jarring or amazing. He's a unique talent -- and, as Kenny Smith mentioned on TNT's postgame show, so erratic that he frustrates like few other players in the league. When he's on, though, he's as exciting as any shooting guard around.
Let this play also be a lesson to NBA fans who think the final score is the only thing worth watching for. Sometimes, when the winner is decided and nothing happening on the court seems to matter, a player does something so fantastic that it reminds you why you watch basketball in the first place.