It’s a long shot

Photo by Chris Leggat on Unsplash

Everyone has seen the last-second full-court shot, tossed up as a hail mary at the last second (or sometimes just after the last second, by savvy players looking to keep their field goal percentage intact).  There doesn’t seem to be much reason why a player would take a shot from 70+ feet at any time besides the end of a quarter.  But it has happened three times in the last 7 years – let’s see if we can figure out why.

Feb. 7, 2012 – Utah Jazz vs. Indiana Pacers – 9:14 left, 2nd quarter.  With about 13 seconds remaining on the shot clock, C.J. Miles takes a shot from 80 feet.  Without video to watch and figure it out, my best guess is that the ball got knocked away into the backcourt and Miles either thought the shot clock was about to expire or he tried to make a long pass that ended up looking more like a shot.

Mar. 27, 2017 – New Orleans Pelicans vs. Utah Jazz – 3:23 left, 4th quarter.  This one is a little more obvious from the play-by-play data.  The shot clock was winding down and Raul Neto must have gotten the ball knocked into the backcourt and had no other choice but to attempt a 74 foot shot.  He didn’t manage to hit the rim, however, and the Jazz suffered a shot clock violation.

Apr. 22, 2016 – San Antonio Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzlies – 0:35 left, 2nd quarter.  This one also appears to be shot-clock related, and Matt Barnes must have at least caught the rim because there was no shot clock violation.  The other possible explanation for a 74-foot shot with 35 seconds left in the half?  Matt Barnes is Matt Barnes.

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