While the NBA was working its way through, um, weightier topics on Monday, this clip of Gerald Green’s brother Garlon Green may have slipped through the cracks. It shows Green, using some of the hops that has made his Miami Heat swingman brother such a dunking legend, apparently purposely tip-dunking in a free throw miss that cost his German league team two points:
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It made no sense. His teammates were clearly ticked off at Green, and due to the fact that his brother Gerald has come through with quite a few daffy plays in his up and down (literally and figuratively) career, this play seemed to fit the narrative. The Green Brothers: Goofballs That Can Jump Real High.
Thanks to Rodger Sherman at SB Nation, Shaqtin a Fool curator Mike Goldfarb, and BekoBBL’s Mike Koerner, however, we’ve now got an explanation for the play that, frankly, turns out to be one of the more brilliant clock-defying basketball maneuvers we’ve ever heard of. Seriously, this is some Paul Westphal-in-the-1976-Finals sort of stuff.
Green’s team, Walter Tigers Tübingen, were down two points with 0.4 seconds left in the contest, and Garlon apparently heard the opposing coach ask his player to miss the free throw on purpose. As NBA fans have seen through the years, an intentional miss helps knock valuable tenths of a second off of the clock, denying an opponent the chance to take the ball out and call timeout (on a make) without the clock ticking, forcing them to spend time rebounding the ball and calling for a timeout.
In Green’s mind, gifting his opponents two more points would be well worth it, as the hit to the clock (the time it takes to tip a dunk in) would be negligible, and his Tigers would have about half a second to try and launch a three-pointer while hoping for a bad foul (that would send a Tiger to the line for a potential four-point play). To use Sherman’s words, “being down 4 with one more chance to possess the ball is technically better than being down 2 and never getting the ball back.”
The odds of it working are just about nil, and it didn’t work, but had this been a one-point game prior to Green’s dunk – and had he cleanly dropped it in without wasting a tenth of a second – this would have been a genius move. One that, and we’re genuine here, someone like LeBron James or Paul George should seriously consider, if presented with a similar situation.
Our apologies to the Green family. We will never doubt your motives again.
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