By now you’ve seen the video of Andrei Kirilenko executing what can only be described as the “anti-Sundiata” finish to the Jazz-Nuggets game on Friday night in Salt Lake City. If not, watch it again here:
After rallying from a bit deficit early, the Jazz entered the fourth quarter with momentum and seemed to be on the verge of breaking a six-game home losing streak. Despite multiple opportunities for the Jazz to score, as well as several missed free throws by the Nuggets, the Jazz found themselves down 5 points with only a few seconds left in the game. Devin Harris knocked down a 3 to cut the lead to just two points. All the Nuggets had to do was inbound the ball and burn the last 1.7 seconds of the game.
Inexplicably, Denver’s Kenyon Martin appeared to attempt to lure the defending Kirilenko into touching the ball while Martin inbounded. If AK touches the ball before it’s inbounded it would result in a technical foul against the Jazz and the game would be sealed. It was a risky move by Martin, and almost cost the Nuggets dearly.
The ball slipped out of Martin’s hands and fell into the open arms of Kirilenko, who simply needed to take one step and dunk the ball to send the game into overtime. I was watching the broadcast in the tunnel for the last possession and couldn’t believe my eyes when Kirilenko misses the point-blank attempt.
On further review, however, it’s clear that the reason Kirilenko lost control of the ball was due to Martin reaching out from out-of-bounds and knocking the ball out of AK’s hands. That’s illegal, by the way. Check out the screen grab below:
A technical foul should have been called on Kenyon Martin, which he and Denver teammate Ty Lawson openly admitted after the game. Unfortunately for the Jazz, it’s been that kind of season.