Basketball is a game that lives on unwritten code. For instance, if a player takes a practice shot after a foul is called, a defender should goaltend it out of the way. When a player makes a free throw, their teammates should give high-fives.
One of the most viral moments in basketball comes when a player is able to cross up a defender and send their ass straight to the ground. That’s what Doncic did, but with an added bonus of it coming in the final seconds of a game in which his team trailed by two points.
With the clock ticking, Doncic pulled the ball backwards and sent Timberwolves rookie Josh Okogie slipping belly-down to the hardwood. Then Doncic reached back to toe the three-point line and… passed away the potential game-winning shot?
Doncic made the smart basketball play by swinging a semi-contested three-ball for an open one to his teammate, but watching Jalen Brunson’s shot clank off the back of the rim was beyond disappointing. It was the consequence of breaking the unwritten rule of ALWAYS having to shoot the shot after crossing someone up.
Circumstance definitely mattered here. The Mavs, who have nothing to play for except ping pong balls, didn’t need to win this game. They could’ve afforded a highlight attempt gone wrong. But instead we’ll have what might’ve been. A meme gone too soon.
Though it was the right basketball play, Luka Doncic passing up a timeless cross-up and buzzer beater felt weak. The good news is he’ll have a whole career to make up for it.