January 24, 2011
Sure, Kevin Durant(notes) broke the hearts of New York Knicks fans everywhere with his buzzer-beating beauty to lift the Oklahoma City Thunder to a home win on Saturday night. But he wasn't the only one pitching daggers.
A scant 1,340 miles away, in our nation's capital, star rookie John Wall(notes) banked home a 3-pointer over the outstretched arm of Rajon Rondo(notes) with the shot clock winding down and 57 ticks left in the game to give his Washington Wizards an 84-81 lead over the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics. The banked-in 27-foot heave — which might be charitably described as "charmed," "touched by an angel" or "other late '90s/early '00s television programs," and less charitably described as "lucky," "not called" or "kind of gross" — proved to be the difference-maker, as the Wiz held on for an 85-83 win.
Credit 2010's top overall draft pick for accepting his good fortune after the game, telling the truth and shaming the devil. From the Associated Press:
... Wall made his team's first and only 3-pointer of the game to put Washington ahead 84-81 with 58 seconds remaining.
And, no, he didn't call the bank.
"I knew it was going to hit backboard, but I thought it was going to be a hard brick," Wall said. "It could've broken the backboard. Luckily, it went in."
As you can see in the clip above (and in another take, courtesy of our man @Jose3030), Wall was so excited after the bomb went in that he started jumping up and down, smiling and really showing off his wild gesticulation game. One of Wall's more interesting hand gestures was one described by Kyle Weidie of Wiz blog Truth About It as "double finger guns," which is probably not the best of all possible hand-gesture formulations to flash in the District, since, well, y'know, and also, y'know. But hey: Big shot! Game-winning stuff! Excitement! Let's not overthink it, huh?
Instead, let's toast what Gene Wang of The Washington Post called "the defining moment to date of [Wall's] brief professional career" — an end-of-the-shot-clock gift from the basketball gods, followed by broad smiles, infectious glee and sourpuss-inducing finger maneuvers. (While we're at it, let's hope prettier defining moments lie ahead.)