Aside from a good facial, a good 1-2 to embarrass a defender is the best experience in basketball.
The crowd oohs and aahs. The broadcasters barely contain their excitement. The benches react: one going crazy with reckless abandon (hello Kent Bazemore) and the other exchanging “did you see that?” looks while trying not to show up their fallen teammate. In the midst of all this, head coaches barely break stride on the sidelines as they stay tuned in to the next play. It’s a beautiful thing.
This season has seen plenty of ankle breakers. Out of this plenty, some have even managed to send a defender stumbling as if he was just learning how to walk.
Last night in the Garden, J.R. Smith gave Tristan Thompson’s talocrural region a reason to get some extra tape after the game. Tonight’s moment came in Orlando, when veteran Caron Butler ventured out to guard Maurice Harkless on a pick-and-roll switch and his feet wouldn’t quite cooperate:
First rule of defense: Stay on your feet.
This probably won’t make a Top 10 countdown tonight, but it is notable nonetheless. For one, Harkless didn’t set Butler up with an elaborate dance before making his move. It was a simple quick crossover the way you were taught in grade school. And it didn’t end in a step back jumper by the offender. It resulted in Harkless hitting the open man as the grizzled Butler, whether he slipped or not, got caught on the wrong end of a highlight reel.