March 01, 2011
On one hand — let's call it the "hot hand" — Phoenix Suns big man Channing Frye(notes) entered Monday night's game against the New Jersey Nets on a high note, having knocked down a buzzer-beating foot-on-the-line jumper to seal a 111-108 road victory over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday.
On the other hand, Frye had missed four of the seven shots he'd taken against the Nets, including all three of his 3-point attempts — not quite a "cold hand," but still a little bit of Cool Hand Channing, to be sure.
When hot meets cool, things get warm. It's just science. Also science, now, apparently? When given the ball at the end of an overtime game, Channing Frye is the most unstoppable scoring machine the NBA has ever seen.
Brook Lopez(notes) took responsibility for Frye's 3-pointer with 6.6 seconds remaining in the extra frame for failing to switch off Marcin Gortat(notes) to contest the shot, but NBA Playbook's Sebastian Pruiti chalks it up to Kris Humphries(notes) attempting to make a play on the inbounds pass rather than sticking with his initial defensive assignment on Frye. Whichever way you slice the blame pie, the shot — which Frye told Tom Canavan of the Associated Press he knew was going in because it "was juicy" as it left his hand (grrrrrross!) — put the Suns up 104-103.
Avery Johnson's team still had a chance to leave with a win, but Williams' floater with one second remaining rimmed out and Humphries' would-be-game-winner came off his hand just one-tenth of a second after the click hit triple-zero. Despite Lopez's post-game claim that he "will go to the grave thinking" the shot was in time, check the clip — the red light's on, meaning no basket, meaning Frye's second straight run of late-game heroics stood up.
I wouldn't bet on Frye extending his extra-innings game-clinching streak to three, though. The Suns play next on Wednesday night against the Boston Celtics, and we already have evidence that Kevin Garnett(notes) would much rather perform an unauthorized cup-check than give up an uncontested 3-pointer to Channing Frye.
International readers ("Int'l read'rs"): If the clip above isn't rocking for you, please feel free to peruse Frye's eventual game-winner, thanks to The Hoop Scene; Humphries' just-late tip, thanks to CelticsOWNCavaliers; and a condensed version of the finish, thanks to the National Basketball Association.