Sometimes, games come down to big shots from big players. Other times, it’s free throws and fouls. And, this time, it was Minnesota Timberwolves big man Jordan Bell forgetting to tuck in his jersey before walking onto the court.
Bell’s NBA fashion faux pas seemed to go unnoticed — or simply not cared about — by the officials as he entered a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder with a two-point lead, 1.1 seconds remaining and Karl-Anthony Towns at the free throw line with one to shoot. And then Chris Paul stepped in.
The veteran point guard immediately pointed out Bell’s jersey to the officials, and got a key free throw on a delay-of-game violation for his efforts.
Chris Paul getting the officials to call a foul on a dead ball because Jordan Bell hadn't tucked in his jersey is max level CP3 pic.twitter.com/gZe3BrR7Yr— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) December 7, 2019
The Thunder only got the free throw because Towns had received an earlier warning in the first half for taking too long to unwrap his knees.
The game then played out as you would imagine. Danilo Gallinari made the free throw for the Thunder to cut the lead to one point, then Towns ill-advisedly made his second free throw (the Thunder had no timeouts, a miss likely would have ended the game).
With 1.1 seconds still remaining and down by two, Stephen Adams hit Dennis Schroder with a crosscourt pass from the baseline and Schroeder made a lay-up to force overtime.
It was all Thunder from there, winning 139-127 in overtime to capture one of the odder victories of the season.
After the game, Bell declined to speak with reporters about the end of regulation, implying that what he had to say about the officials’ decision would get him fined, per ESPN’s Royce Young. As for Paul...
As Chris Paul walked over for his media availability he heard some people talking about the delay of game. “Yeah I told them his jersey was untucked,” Paul said. “I know the rules.”— Royce Young (@royceyoung) December 7, 2019
However, crew chief Scott Foster challenged the notion that it was Paul who initially pointed out Bell’s jersey, telling a pool reporter after the game that he and another official had noticed it. Whoever noticed it first, the Thunder are probably more than fine with how the whole thing turned out.
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